I like using Gmail. I put my calendar and contacts up in the “cloud” before it was cool. This allows me to access this data from any computer, any hand-held device, anywhere in the world. I’m willing to give up some privacy to have those services. And I do. (So do you, I bet.)
Only slightly less so than Facebook, I find Google creepy. Their interests are best served by a world without privacy, and they have been working to bend things in that direction. There is no more visible evidence of this than the fleet of Google vans that traverse streets all over the planet snapping photographs of every house, building, and street corner — sometimes catching people doing things that they would surely not be doing if they knew they were being watched. But this problem has been confined to streets. There have been no Google camera vans in the middle of big parks, for example, or in jungles. So it has been, at least, theoretically possible to go far enough away from civilization to get away from Google. Until now.
Meet the Google “street view van,” Amazon edition. That’s the actual river in Brazil, not the internet merchant of the same name. Here’s what it looks like:
And here’s the BBC story that creeps me out beyond words.