Yesterday Google launched the Street View component of Google Maps in Brazil. In its first day, it saw two dead bodies.
As a Google Representative explained, images in Google Street View are “no different to what anyone might expect to see for themselves around the country.”
The disparity of gruesome images turning up in Google Street View in places like Brazil versus places like the US is a testament to Google’s role in equitably reflecting an unequal world.
The discovery of two dead bodies in the streets of Brazil underscored the country’s striking homicide problem. As of now Brazil charts 25.2 intentional murders per 100,000 citizens.
The offending images were quickly removed from Google, which prompts another philosophical quandary: as we exist more and more in the digital world, should Google clean up our image of daily reality, or should it reflect the world as it really is?
A website called Street Viu has already been created to document Bazil’s indecorous Google Street View moments before they’re removed from the site. And it’s not just murders that are captured. There’s a burglary in progress, an arrest, and some vague but nefarious-looking activity.
In the most optimistic view, maybe Google Street View will discourage murder and crime in Brazil—you never know when Google is watching.