Ever used Google Maps - and specifically, their Street View technology?  Incredible - and when it first rolled out, there seemed to be amazing examples to show in big cities - but very little detail in smaller places like Casper.   Eventually, it got better - but still wasn't updated that often.  (For example, we changed this sign out front of the KISS-FM studios almost two years ago, and the old version is still up as of this posting.)  That could be changing soon, however - the Google Street View Project is under way in Casper as we speak.

My co-worker Tom and I were enroute to lunch downtown this afternoon, and pulled up a few cars back from a strange little vehicle with a Google Maps wrap on it - complete with a strange-looking contraption perched on the roof.  We tried to follow it, but caught a red light and lost it.  After lunch, it passed us again - and we were finally able to chase it down.

We got the driver to roll down his window, and asked if we might be able to interview him to get a little more info on what he was doing and how Google actually maps every street in town - but he very nicely declined, and offered us a page with an "official statement" from Google - that gave a little generic background about the project, the vehicle, and how they record data.

 

There's been some concerns from people about violations of privacy and the photos that Google captures - even entire websites devoted to funny/interesting/embarrassing images obtained from the Streetview Project.

They address the privacy argument in the statement they gave to us:

"If there is any concern about the nature of this project or the data it produces we will make every effort to resolve the issue.  We have designed this project to comply with applicable law, and we believe that our recording project is permitted in this area.  The Google online product that will eventually use this data is still under development, but will be built to respect the law and rights of individuals.  If you are concerned about specific images and wish to request their removal for purposes of security or privacy, please provide contact information and a description of the location where the images were taken to the driver.  He or she will bring this information to Google and we will do our best to respond quickly.  Please be aware there is no way for the driver to remove or delete information from the system in the vehicle.  The computers work automatically and the driver is not trained to modify them."

Let us know - have you seen Google in Casper?  What does your house/street look like on Street View?  Worried about privacy?

Bonus:  For giggles, check out Mashable's Top 15 Google Street View Sightings.