Nov, 29 2012

NSFW: There is a bit of cursing and slightly explicit material in this post.

It seems Google is everywhere nowadays. The tech giant has dibs on all our information, owning some of the most popular services in the world – like Gmail, Android, Chrome/Chromium OS, Google TV, Google Maps, Google Search (of course) and soon they will even have self-driven Google cars taking you everywhere. All of this information is used to make your life easier and improve advertising, but just how far can Google go before raising some major privacy concerns?

This video from thekloons takes Google’s omnipresence to make a funny, but worrisome video of how far things could get if Google continues to grow at this rate. The video displays a theoretical feature called “House View,” which would allow anyone to see inside of houses with pictures taken by a little Google robot.

We may be giggling right now, but there might come a point when privacy does become a concern. One of the best features of Android 4.2 is Photo Sphere, bringing us the ability to take 360-degree pictures and uploading them to Google Maps. These immersive images would then be available for the world to see on Street View. Pretty Nifty, right? No doubt, it would be fun to share our experiences with friends and family in full detail. Hell, you can even put your room in Street View… or uncaring visitors could do it for you.

While some people may be indifferent about it, many of us would be very uncomfortable about having our private space readily available for anyone’s viewing pleasure. Especially if you have kids to worry about, or criminals in your neighborhood. Google should definitely have an option to remove Photo Spheres from Google Maps if these happen to invade people’s privacy. There are still some concerns, though, as some naughty images have definitely slipped through Google’s hands in the past.

On the other hand, this can be a great feature we don’t want to let go of. You can share your hiking adventures better, or check out museums and historic landmarks more interactively. Users can take advantage of Photo Sphere to expand a business, by letting others see the premises. How about making your house available in Google Maps Street View if you have it for sale? The possibilities are endless, but there definitely needs to be some privacy control.

With all of this in mind – how do you guys feel about the new Photo Sphere features in Android 4.2? Would you mind having 360-degree images of your house online? Would it be too hard for Google to monitor and curate appropriate Photo Spheres? You can go ahead and participate in our poll or sound off in the comments with your own opinions!

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