Thursday, November 03, 2005

Google's TMI*

Did everyone but me know that you can type someone's home phone number into the GOOGLE search bar and then get a detailed map to their home courtesy of the provided Yahoo Maps or Mapquest link?

Does anyone else think this is creepy and scary? Imagine your child giving someone his or her phone number. That person could then, with two clicks, find out the address of the child's house--and get directions straight to it.

I know all of this information is more or less in the public domain. What is creeping me out is the one-stop shopping nature of it all. Back in the day, you had to have a name to get a phone number. And lord knows how you would get an address with just a phone number. And you certainly weren't going to get--without a hell of a lot of effort--directions to someone's front door just by having their phone number.

Now, you meet someone in a bar or at a party, you give him your number, and you have just told him where you live and how to get there. Yeeks. Which might be a good enough reason to have a cell phone and only give that number out.

Incidentally, you can have your phone number removed from google. You have to click on the link that says "Phonebook results for:(i.e.555-555-1212)" above your name and phone number, or go to

Fill in the form, wait 48 hours, and hope your stalker is out of town till it's removed.

*TMI means "too much information," just in case acronyms frighten and confuse you.


Joe Tornatore said...

i am writing a blog post that talks about how the world has changed. this is one of the things I put in the essay. it is still in draft, but hey i agree with you. scary.

redsoxnationbaby said...

Let us know when you have posted it, Joe. In the meantime, I have removed my info from the site. That is so scary.