Too broke to jet abroad? Thanks to Google, you no longer need toby Joy Lo Dico / July 23, 2009 / Leave a comment
Published in August 2009 issue of Prospect Magazine
It’s the summer holidays again, and time for the annual British migration south, east and west. But this is 2009. We already watch television on the iPlayer, make new friends on Facebook, “work from home” over the internet. So the next logical step— bypass the hell of Heathrow and reduce your carbon footprint in one fell swoop by taking your holidays online too.
Google’s Street View, which merges photographs taken of streets in cities across the globe to produce a close likeness of the world in 3D, sparked off heated debates about privacy when launched in March. But as a “holiday” provider it’s matchless: go to Google Maps, zoom in, pick up a little orange avatar man and you can have London, New York, Paris, Rome or even Scunthorpe at your fingertips—all for the price of a broadband connection.
Literalists will argue that it’s not the same as going on a real holiday, and it isn’t. Sure, you can traipse over Florence’s Pontevecchio. (Streetview is so sharp that you can even go window-shopping in the little jewellery shops along the bridge.) But you can’t feel the Tuscan sun on your skin.