Google Street View Adventure
Last week, my wife went bargain shopping at a local “Peddler’s Mall”-type resale spot. In one of the booths she spotted a really nice leather bag. She had been on my case to stop carrying what she called my “man purse”. It’s actually a Travelon messenger bag. It’s perfect for my Kindle, headphones, keys, etc. But, it will not accommodate my MacBook. The leather laptop bag was only $15, so she grabbed it.
My wife was curious about just how good a bargain she had landed. The stamp in the bag boasted “Made In Italy”.
I figured it would only take 4 seconds of Google and we’d know. But, I was quickly flummoxed. I searched the name of the manufacturer.
No luck with “di rito” in the U.S. So, I expanded to Florence Italy. I quickly determined that ‘di rito” does not have its own web presence. Odd, for this kind of workmanship.
I ended up finding the name on the sites of a few distributors. But, they were in Italian. So, Google Translate came in handy. Among other things, I learned that a “pelletteria” was Italian for “leather goods”. And, I finally got an address:
On to Google Maps.
Well, we were right in Tuscany. By this point I was more excited about where than bag was from than how much it might be worth. I grabbed the little Street View guy and dragged him to the map.
Unfortunately, the street I was aiming for had not been photographed. But adjoining streets had. And, I was soon looking right down Via Faenza.
The street, no wider than alleys in the U.S., was under construction at the time the Street View van went by. But, you can see down far enough to see what business is like. This is where my bag was born!
I decided to swing around and see what the area was like.
To people in Italy, this might not be a big deal. For me it was thrilling.
I have used Google Street View twice to look at houses and neighborhoods when moving. We’ve checked out schools, workplaces, found area businesses, all without being within 500 miles of the place.
Last week, I was reading Stephen King’s book “11/22/63” (go read this book, not spoilers). In it, he describes some areas in Dallas, Texas in 1963, including a church and an alleyway. I used Street View from my iPhone to check out how the area looks now. And, I did it sitting in a waiting room – Kindle in one hand, iPhone in the other.
Sometimes we gloss right over these modern-day miracles because we understand them. We would be disappointed if we didn’t see leaps of progress in gadgets and software.
But, sometimes, all this just looks cool.