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Google's next project: our drawers

The news this week that Google will be photographing the interior of business premises in New Zealand, Australia and other countries further raises the issue of privacy in today's online age.
Written by Darren Greenwood, Contributor on

The news this week that Google will be "target="_blank" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">photographing the interior of business premises in New Zealand, Australia and other countries further raises the issue of privacy in today's online age.

At least they will be asking the permission of business owners, something they never seemed to do in their previous ventures.

With Street View, we saw them take pictures of houses by the roadside, leading to some amusing court cases. There was "target="_blank" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">some controversy over it collecting data from household wireless connections, too.

With Google Earth, we can see further pictures of our houses from above.

A few weeks back, my parents mentioned an old friend whose daughter had left England for Northland in New Zealand. They wondered how she had fared.

Within minutes, just by Googling her name, I discovered she was head of art at one of the schools, was loved by her students, had a pottery studio and a pleasant lifestyle block a short drive from town. She had done well.

The next day, visiting some other friends, we used Google to show these friends my parents' house, along with that of my brother, who lives nearby.

My parents and these friends are in their seventies, and they were horrified at what could be discovered about people online. You could see past people's front gates, they noted, and that seemed particularly shocking. You do not want untidy gardens on show!

Other websites can tell you how many rooms a property has, what it is worth and what it sold for in the past.

My parents certainly saw that as a gross invasion of privacy.

Now, much, if not all, of this information can be freely obtained anyway; it's just that the online world makes it all the more quicker.

A few months back, a friend from Wellington sent me her new address near Brisbane.

Thanks to Google cache, I was able to see the house that she and her hubby are renting, along with the rent they are paying.

I replied that I loved her new pool and the gorgeous gourmet kitchen!

I hope my friend is young enough not to be offended by my nosing around, especially given that such a large firm such as Google will be enabling just the same for businesses around the globe.

Perhaps the next thing will be for Google to root through our rubbish and our drawers, although, considering how much control it has over our lives, it likely does that digitally already.

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