After all the bitching lately about Google’s Street View and its apparent privacy concerns, it is nice to see a positive spin put on what I consider to be a brilliant service. Police in Virginia have been able to track down a missing 9 year old girl and her captor–also her grandmother–using the Street View service. The grandmother is alleged to have made comments to the girls legal guardians along the lines of “you’ll never see her again” after the which the police were called.
The police were able to access the GPS coordinates of the missing pairs’ cellphone through its service provider ultimately finding that every coordinate pair was within 300 meters of the others. The cops were able to pinpoint the approximate location on a map, then using Google Street View–which has 360 views around any point–able to look at real images of the entire area. There the police were able to find a motel. Acting on a hunch they went to the motel, arrested the grandmother, and recovered the missing girl without incident.
For every idiot immortalized by Street View while pissing on a sidewalk comes along a case like this that makes it all worth it. Hopefully even for the idiot doing the pissing.