Otherwise known as, ok google maps, this is really cool.
What you're looking at is a quick screen pic of Max's hometown. He spent a good 20 minutes showing me his streets, his friends houses, his haunts (when we go we have to go eat fries here... and this was our Chinese food place!), his 12 km bike ride to school (that was a lot of clicking to get through! It takes a long time even on google!) and the school itself. He even got adorably lost. Aww.
While I'm sure you know that google maps is awesome, I think for me this was something wonderful and new. I love being able to picture Max's life before he moved here a little bit better- and never in the history of the world have we been able to explore someone else's world so well, in spite of it being an ocean away.
Essentially, in the middle of my day, I took a quick detour to Holland.
You go, google maps.
I know there are a lot of pro's and cons- its certainly creepy how much you can see (Max also showed me the trailer he and his dad lived in for a while in Whitehorse, and you can scroll right up and count the nails on the door if you so wish) and it's some interesting murky ground with google street view being used to catch criminals, for example. Google is seriously everywhere. There's even some cool art projects using google street view. I know there's also someone out there who is putting up representations of people caught by the satellite image in the real life location their picture is immortalized in, but I couldn't find a link to that with a quick (google!) search.
Max and I have encountered a streetview camera twice, and even waved at the google car and giant camera driving in our neighbourhood downtown Halifax this summer. To the degree that its alarming how google really does seem to be everywhere, I also use it probably every single day, so my suspicious nature is somewhat mitigated by how freaking handy is. Plus, a lot of the stuff they do is pretty cool, like the driverless car, the glasses, even the inside of their data centers. The only thing I can complain about is them hating on my Canadian spelling.
All that said, I don't use it as my default browser- I actually use ecosia, because it seems like a pretty painless way to potentially do some good. Yet I still manage to use google every day. Well, it's for awesome stuff like this. If it's on the internet, it seems like google is making it as accessible as possible- from research to books to using an image search to source a picture you share (which we all do, right? Because not sourcing is not cool, right?!). Something like streetview is also, obviously, super useful- great to get a look at where you need to go, and Max and I used it to check out neighbourhoods when we were looking for a place. But for an emotional trip like this, where I got to look at the places behind 17 years of Max's stories, really felt like another level. I felt like I was taking a walk through a piece of his childhood, and since I probably won't be able to actually visit his home with him until after we're married, it was a pretty amazing treat to share. To snuggle up next to him and take a walk through Holland.
The internet it turning into a pretty amazing place.