Eric Arthur Blair -aka- George Orwell's dystopian view of the world didn't quite pan out by 1984, at least in America. I spent Super Bowl Sunday that year with my brothers and thousands of other sonic worshipers witnessing David Lee Roth and the rest of Van Halen, in their prime, as they rocked the Lakeland, Florida Civic Center to its foundation. According to the police reports, good times were indeed had by all. Fast forward to 2009 when we recently realized, in an interesting way, that Georgie O's 'Big Brother' has definitely been gaining some traction in the day's since 1984.
Photo Courtesies: Google Earth. The closest thing to an Elvis sighting in our hometown. That's Brooks (kneeling center) wielding his green thumb at a family property, as captured by Google Earth. From cars in the driveway and other clues, we determined the image was shot between April and August of 2008.
Recently, my brother, Brooks, and I were test driving the latest in 'street level' technology that Google Earth has to offer and caught a glimpse of someone conspicuously crouched in a front yard at one of our properties. Closer inspection positively identified the figure to be none other than, Brooks. For those that don't know the power of navigation and James Bond-like surveillance we have at our fingertips these days, here's an example. With the click of a mouse, you can see your house. As a matter of fact, anyone with a computer can not only see your house, but they can see IN your house. It barely gets a little pixilated when you zoom in, and we heard Google does that on purpose. Regardless. To give you an idea of the Peeping Tom power in this free tool, we were able to zoom in and see Pittsburgh Steelers banners inside one of our living rooms! Pretty damn amazing and creepy (in a creepy kind of way) all at the same time. Try it for yourself and see how it feels. From what we can gather, Brooks was in the right place at the right time when, what we can only imagine to be, a mysterious Orwellian Google van (probably black with tinted windows) wired with a satellite array and cameras on board rolled down our street ... taking it all in. For the record, Brooks has no recollection of such a vehicle, or strangely enough, anything else from that day. Harmless enough, but you can't help but wondering how many other 'lucky' and oblivious people have been captured in far more compromising positions for all the world to see.
Google is now an official word in the English dictionary with 'to Google' as its verbal derivative. How many times a day do you Google? How about when people aren't watching? Unless you're playing cricket and bowl a 'googly' (google without the capital G in the Oxford English Dictionary), you probably do it a lot too, for actual work-related purposes or the simple and immediate satisfaction of general curiosities. However, when you tie it in with satellites, the latest GPS (global positioning systems) and some kickass digital imaging technology, it all gets ... a little strange, but in a good way ... I think.
No. That last one's not a Google shot. I snapped it the old fashioned way during a dive with Brooks off Pompano, FL.
Personally, I still love the smell of some magazines, the feel of turning pages between my fingers, and let's face it, nothing beats the scent of a freshly sharpened Ticonderoga #2 pencil. But then again, modern technology does have its applications, and the latest and greatest version of Google Earth and Google Maps with the satellite images and street level digital photography is one example of just how far we've come in the last little while. Brooks and I use it for work all the time; scouting locations, checking logistics, access and topography before expeditions. You know ... research and stuff. We've even found some great places to play with sharks using it. As amazing and useful as it is, in the right hands, I can't help but wondering what George Orwell would have to say if he was around ... to Google.