Have You Been Googled?

As you wander down the street, step out of your house in a bath robe to turn off the lawn sprinklers, or bend over to tie your shoe, look out! You may be Googled. Great! Now your big bottom has been preserved for posterity-all your distant relatives, facebook fans and business associates can finally see the REAL you.

Google Street View cars don't just pass by your place once, necessarily, but may return for updates, more information and better views, as we witnessed recently when out shopping at a California beach town.

What you may not know is that the cars with a rooftop platform rig, and a setup of equipment on a red ball that looks like a bug's eye, may also be grabbing your phone and internet conversations, as well. As of yet, those electronic snippets have not been released in the manner that Google Street View is available, but at least one U.S. Court (and other government agencies, possibly) have ordered Google to hand over copies of wireless data that the company's Street View program collected as it photographed neighborhoods.

Local governments love Google Street View, as it helps them to analyze inappropriate business signage, street issues, and business activities that may not be licensed. It is one more tool to help them do their job and enforce laws, they say.

When the Street View cars roll by congested shopping districts, some people pull out their cell phones and post their pictures to facebook or twitter right away. It's kind of like the old days when you'd get prizes for recognizing a car from a radio station and receive a free sticker or maybe win a trip. Google doesn't seem to be handing out prizes, however.

And not everyone eagerly greets these road warriors who are taking pictures of every car, license plate, kid walking out the door of their home to go to school alone, or even sex offender hanging out in a park. At least one incident of vandalism was reported as hostile residents angered by the Google Street View car threw rocks at the vehicle, terrorizing the already paranoid driver.

If you see yourself, your car license plate, your house with your precious children in the yard innocently playing, or other such images on Google Street View maps (just go to maps.google.com, and click on "Street View",) there's a link you can click and form to fill out requesting that the image be blurred more and in rare instances, removed. Go check it out!

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