15 Minutes Into the Future

Mug Me Please: Rutgers Mashes Up Instagram and Google Street View

An invitation to burglars? A living history? Why not both?
screen shot 2012 11 26 at 3 19 05 pm1 Mug Me Please: Rutgers Mashes Up Instagram and Google Street View

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Well, this certainly inspires a lot of feelings: Rutgers’ Social Media Information Lab has just launched a new project dubbed The Beat, with pairs geotagged Instagram photos with the location their were taken on Google Street View. As The Atlantic points out, it’s a playful use of the photo-sharing app’s API, similar to This is Now, a real-time chronicle of life in several cities across the globe.

It’s pretty neat! On the other hand, the app is a stark reminder of just how much personal information we offer up to the Internet.

Instagram feels private, but unless you cordon off your profile with the appropriate settings, it’s really not. And Street View has essentially moved the physical world online, turning the street where you live into a series of bytes your stalker can visit from the comfort of his laptop. Add it together and the picture of your new flatscreen juxtaposed with the picture of your front door starts to look like an enticement for burglars.

That said, seeing all these these moody, glowy snapshots juxtaposed against boring old Google Street View confirms what we’ve long suspected: Instagram is  just a giant, high-tech pair of rose-colored glasses.

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com