Thongs and dead Bambis on Google StreetView--what's next?

Google's StreetView offers a wealth of info for navigating around an unfamiliar area, but there is such a thing as too much information. In the past, StreetView has captured such unseemly sights as a woman's inadvertent flash of underwear and a StreetView driver answering the call of nature. But now, a Google StreetView car hit a baby deer during its run, and captured and uploaded the whole thing to the Internet for all to see. And that's just sad.

Gizmodo's Adam Frucci posts some pretty graphic pictures of the captured event, both of the deer darting in front of the car and the aftermath. He found it by navigating around Rush, N.Y.:

As you follow the street view scene down Five Points Road in Rush, NY, you can see the deer run out in front of the car, get hit and then see it on the side of the road before the car pulls over. And that's the end of the Street View data for Five Points Road.

While StreetView workers are probably not the best paid in the world, and the job itself must be the height of boredom, Google should really have some standards as to what can and can't be shown via the tool. It's not like they didn't have ample warning the scene was uploaded. VentureBeat reports Google's explanation this way:

The driver was understandably upset, and promptly stopped to alert the local police and the Street View team at Google. The deer was able to move and had left the area by the time the police arrived. The police explained to our driver that, sadly, this was not an uncommon occurrence in the region — the New York State Department of Transportation estimates that 60,000-70,000 deer collisions happen per year in New York alone — and no police report needed to be filed.

So why did it get uploaded in the first place? It's probably alot like the system Google uses to clear up less-than-squeaky-clean images on YouTube--action, such that it is, only happens after a complaint. Thongs are one thing, but actually killing a baby deer on camera is bound to get activists churning. If Google's not careful, the next thing you know, some feisty legislator will start calling for a StreetView rating system. You can hear the argument now: "Do you really want your children exposed to bare bottoms and dead Bambis when they're just trying to navigate their way to the candy store?"

It's a slippery slope.

* * *

Like this post? Visit the Google Subnet home page for more news, blogs and podcasts.

More blog posts from Google Subnet:

Sign up for the weekly Google newsletter. (Click on News/Google News Alert.)

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.