Amazing or Creepy?

Yesterday Google launched their street view option in Google Maps UK. I’ve used the option on US maps for some time but it’s a different feeling being able to see around places closer to home. In many ways it is amazing but also slightly creepy and I started thinking about why I have that reaction.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the street view is raising the ‘slightly creepy’ reaction because it is showing us the world in the way we directly experience it every day. When Google Maps came out with satellite photos everyone was amazed, yet also less creeped out. That makes sense because it showed us an aerial view of the world that we never experience, just like seeing an X-ray of your arm.

The narrower that gap gets between our own human experience and what’s publicly available on the web, the creepier things will get.

* this has been a Blog from a Bench

Microsoft Humour (1)

If you fancy a bit of light entertainment, head over to Microsoft’s latest campaign site for Vista, called The Mojave Experiment. This one is an absolute marketing classic.

The concept behind the campaign is that Windows XP users who have never used Vista (and presumably never even seen it) are asked for their opinion of the OS. We hear nothing but negative words. Then they are shown a ‘sneak peek’ of the latest Microsoft operating system, codenamed ‘Mojave’. The reactions are amazing, ecstatic, “so easy”, “so cool”. The users are then told that they’ve been using Vista. Cue shocked looks and much jaws dropping all round.

I just find it astonishing how clueless Microsoft are when it comes to marketing. Putting aside the fact that the net result of the campaign is showing the participants of the video as misinformed and wrong (psychological alarm bells are ringing here), the campaign concept feels like one big horrible back-handed compliment. Regardless of the ‘positive’ outcome at the end, the video starts with public trashing of the very product they’re promoting. That’s nothing new but coming on a Microsoft marketing message seems to validate those opinions. It just leaves a really bad taste in the mouth.

Check out the bearded guy (third row, fifth column from the right):

So what three words would you use to describe ‘Mojave’?
Easy… (long pause) Can I change easy to convenient?
[OK that’s it, show the Vista logo and end the video]