How's it going? It's Patrick Mahoney here. I'm a 40 year old male. I live in Huntington Beach, CA. I use Mac OS-X, version 10.5.8. I mostly use Firefox to browse the web, but have been known to fire up Opera when I'm feeling a bit crazy. The sites I visit the most are beginnertriathlete.com, ampmerch.com, and bbc.co.uk.
But you already know this.
You also know know that I use many of your products, including Blogger, Google Analytics, and GMail. I am a publisher with Google AdSense, and you currently owe me $2.18.
I've always been uncomfortable with you knowing so much. But I'm not interested in living in a bubble, so I use your services. Since you know so much about me, I'm sure you already know how I feel about Microsoft. But all that does is make you the least worst.
I watched with some interest when you starting catching flack for invasion of privacy after launching Google Maps, especially with the street view feature. Whether they where true or just urban legends, I thought the stories of people being caught by your image capturing vans in compromising situations where darkly humorous. I was in London when a story broke about how your satellites discovered the word "cock" laid out in bricks on the roof of a Surrey school, left years ago by students long gone. The Brits have a knack for making the most of an oddball news story, so I got a chuckle when I read the newspaper that day. However, as innocuous or immaterial these stories where, the undertone of Google as "big brother" was a little scary. But it didn't directly affect me, so I didn't worry too much.
Maybe I should have. Because recently I found this:
Figure "A" is a shot of Corona Del Mar Beach in Newport, CA. Please note the jetty on the right side of the picture. The jetty offers a fair bit of protection to the beach. Thus the waves are typically small which makes this beach a favorite spot for open water swimming. You'll also note that I have boxed out an area of the photograph and designated it as the "Area Of Detail".
Figure "B" is the Area Of Detail. You will notice two things. First, there are two swimmers heading in to shore. Both swimmers are leaving a fair amount of wake, suggesting strong forward motion. Their position relative to the buoy (the white dot roughly in the center of the photograph) shows that a well executed turn towards shore had just been made. I have marked these swimmers as "My Companions".
Secondly, there is another swimmer to the right of the buoy. This swimmer is making no wake, suggesting little or no forward motion. The swimmer's angle relative to the buoy is roughly 10 degrees to the left of the ideal line. In fact it's not clear exactly what direction this swimmer is headed. I have marked this swimmer as "Me".
I realize that your first question will be how I am so sure that you have captured me in your satellite imagery. My answer is as follows:
1. I swim at Corona Del Mar all the time.
2. I frequently swim with two other people.
3. My two companions are equally matched swimmers. Both are much faster than I am.
4. I can't swim in a straight line.
Though I admit that the above is not irrefutable proof, the circumstantial evidence is strong enough for me to make this conclusion. I know most of the people who swim here and each and every one of them are capable of both creating wake and swimming straight. I am using simple logic - when you are able to eliminate all other possibilities, those that remain are the answers.
What does this mean for me? There is now visual proof on the web that I am a terrible swimmer. No longer will I be able to talk smack or put on my game face before the start of a triathlon. Because anyone with Internet access can now plainly see that I have no game.
Thanks Google, and good looking out. I hope the winds change in Washington, someone gets a stick up their butt about you guys, and the Department of Justice goes all antitrust on your ass.