The other day, I was talking to a business broker as I was giving some consulting to a small businessman who was interested in expanding his operations in the region. He did not have time to go around and look at various locations, but he asked me for some advice, so I spent a few hours checking commercial real estate property values, closeness to distribution hubs, and then I went on to Google Earth to have a look. One of the locations which was quite ideal for him, as it was near a college for low-cost interns, unfortunately had a lot of old debris in the side yard behind the industrial building. Okay so, let's talk about this for second shall we?
It turns out that the entrepreneur and founder had retired that building and company had left his business to his kids that had run it into the ground, and they had decided to sell the accounts, and sell the building. There would be quite a bit of cost to remove all that old junk, and it made me wonder if there would be any contingent liability for environmental problems in the soil and there was a creek bed, with a little bit of erosion which had gotten under the fence in a few places.
This made me wonder if Google Earth was causing people to clean up their backyards, and not necessarily just commercial buildings, but what about residential areas as well? Everyone has probably looked up their own home online on Google Earth, and they probably also have been able to see into their neighbor's backyards. It is akin to flying over someone's property in an aircraft, and as a pilot, I equate it to basically the same visual, the only difference is you do not have to pay for the aviation fuel, and is not quite as fun flying over something on a computer, as it is in an actual aircraft.
Since everyone has looked up their own home on Google Earth, they probably thought that other people are doing the same thing. This might make them wish to clean up their backyard so that they do not look like slobs. After retirement, I traveled around the nation for about seven years in an RV, I was amazed at how many places in the southern states where the residents had old junked-out cars in the yard, and it is as bad as the comedians say with a talk about such things. Sometimes that's why it's so funny, because it's so close to the truth.
If I were a betting man, I would say that more than one person in your very own neighborhood has cleaned up their backyard, after they looked at their own home on Google Earth, and were shocked at what they saw and did not want them neighbors to know that they had a junkyard back there. So, maybe that's a good thing, although it seems that many people complain about their privacy on this issue. In fact, the Germans were quite upset when they learned how much Google Earth revealed and now want such images blocked out online.
Still, if this is keeping Americans from making a mess of their own backyard, sometimes it will help them take pride in our country as well, perhaps throw less garbage or trash on the street, so maybe this is a good trend. Just a thought, so I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.