Google Street View is a mighty yoke

Google Street View is a mighty yoke

There are many photos of Zuppy. Not Zuppy, the blue dog from The Den. 

This Zuppy was a pup that arrived at our place in 1995.

Zuppy was bit of gom, but a lovable one and she lived with us for 14 or so years. 

I have lots of photos of her, but the most poignant is of her as a blurry shape in the distance, ears cocked, perhaps looking puzzled. 

She might have been puzzled at the Google Street View car driving up the road to Dripsey Village.

Google will probably end up ruling us in a coalition with Facebook, in a dystopian nightmare where every emotion and thought is tracked and logged and monetised, and all truth is subjective and a happy clappy, fussball-and-casual-Friday oppression stalks the land.

But fair play to them, Google Street View is a mighty yoke.

The first Google Street view trip we all took was to look up our own place. Usually, it was a disappointing trip. 

In our case, the van had a knack for coming around when the place was up in a heap. 

In the first version, there was a pile of gravel out the front. 

I stared at it multiple times. It felt like visitors had arrived and hadn’t given us any notice and then they had the bad grace to take a photo. 

‘Who’d know?’ you ask. I’D KNOW.

There was an update in 2016. We had changed the car after I … cough … cough … [redacted] oil [redacted] engine in the old one.

We got a car from this millennium that had fancy things like air-conditioning and mirrors that would turn in with a brrrrrrrrrm noise. 

It didn’t feature on Google Street view. I think this was a deliberate slight from Google. 

A subtle way of letting me know that I wasn’t fooling anyone. I would always be a 97-Corolla man.

Google Street View is a mighty yoke

After poring over one’s own gaff, the next job is to snoop on neighbouring houses. 

Every so often, I torture myself with the size of others’ gardens, but then console myself that they are probably not happy, rattling around on the back steppe.

Another important use for Google Maps and Street View is searching for addresses seized by the Criminal Assets Bureau. 

Inside gates that look forbidding from the outside, you can see swimming pools and zoos in the back, in the corporation house that’s still in their mother’s name. 

A woman told CAB she paid for a villa in Spain from her old age pension.

One of the beauties of having a back garden the size of a blanket is that a) if I do get involved in a multinational drug ring, I won’t be tempted to put a swimming pool out the back and b) even if I put anything outlandish out the back, Google Map’s 3-d view won’t have enough room to get it at a good angle.

Street view is now old enough that it is starting to show the progression of places through time, but out the country there have been no updates. 

On Google Street View, Dripsey is still 2009. It’s sort of eerie, zooming past everyone’s house. 

Past our own home place, where, perhaps, my father might have been reading ‘The Paper’, before going out to pat Zuppy and go for a walk. 

Past other houses, where, maybe, the euphoria of Dripsey’s All Ireland win was still keeping people going, even as the economy was going down the jacks and some young people were no doubt thinking ‘Australia’.

When the Google Street View van comes around again, Dripsey will be updated. 

The Tidy Towns group’s efforts will be proudly on display — flowers, benches, restored cottages — and there will be the blurry images of new neighbours out for a walk.

And poor old Zuppy won’t be in it. 

But maybe they’ll see her successor, ears raised, wondering who’s driving past with the funny yoke on the top.

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