Sunday, October 19, 2008

my memories just been sold

at least one teacher in a local middle school asked each of her students this fall to download google earth, find their house, and print out a picture of it.

I remember when my school used to have an aerial photograph of the city and I could find the tree in front of my house - and thought it was pretty cool (ok, I became a geography major so perhaps I'm just wired this way). I still remember the first time I went to Google and realized I could get a picture of my house. Now I use street view to help me visualize driving directions anytime I'm going to drive in town to somewhere I haven't been before - you know how Boston street signs can be tough to spot! For fun I just went and looked up an old address where I used to live. Turns out it was torn down and replaced by a monster so the lawn where my first puppy played no longer exists. Reminds me of the house where my grandfather was born that's now a convenience store (which I can also see on line). At least its only a block from the original Chipotle, although you won't find references to the dog catcher who used to find my parents dogs licking the ice cream tubs behind what was then a Dolly Madison anywhere on line. At least there's a starbucks across the street - news to me as well today.

I'm not entirely comfortable with this. I know all these sites want to make money off me and my browsing. Are my memories really being sold back to me in a twisted way? How will our collective memories be affected by this ability to get near instant access to places of our past - especially when those places really don't exist any more? Time to cue up the radio and figure out how to deal. (Thanks Pandora & J Geils Band).