Google is starting to steal some of the small surprises in life.
Sure, the goal to index all the information in the world is a noble and valuable effort, but when all the secrets of the world are accessible with a keyboard, it removes some of the mystery and exhiliration when you discover them on your own.
I went to Easter Island to run a marathon with Team Diabetes this past summer. I was expecting to have chills of awe run down my arms when I turned the corner and saw the raw Moai statues tumbling from a volcanic crater or standing majestically on the ocean beaches guarding the shore. But I had done so much research to track the route of the marathon and plan the vacation, that I had seen all the angles of the island. Through photos on Panoramio to blog entries, travel reviews, Nova documentaries and Lonely Planet travel episodes I had experienced the island before I even arrived.
Use Photosynth from Microsoft and you can enter St Peters Basillica or the Sistine Chapel and get up close to the beauty and wonder of the architecture and the art. You can virtually enter almost anywhere on the planet, and as Google Street View gets rolled out in more and more cities (11 in Canada last week) the mysteries of our local neighborhoods will be as accessible as these internationally popular monuments. Sure it's great to research your hotel to make sure you can identify landmarks when you're arriving, or to scope out the neighborhood, but at the same time it's taking away some of those little surprises.
It's a cool step and you have to balance where it ends up being, but Google has taken away some of life's little surprises which are really big magical things.
catch the buzz ... pass it on.
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