So it’s Apple’s and Google’s world. We’re just Xs and Os on a grid, mere personae trapped in the matrix. Then again, you need Xs and Os to play checkers, which, unlike chess, can be played in less than six hours, and you get to make your own kings and actually jump over stuff and not just make believe you’re a horse that moves like no horse ever has, unless it had some serious intestinal issues, which is bad news if you’re a horse. I’m really losing the thread here and I’m only a paragraph in.
Apple is getting ready to kick Google’s arse (Britisher talk) in the mapping game:
And for the first time, Google’s dominance of digital mapping faces a credible threat: Apple has announced that it will no longer include Google Maps on iPhones or iPads, replacing it with an alternative that, an Apple source told the tech blog All Things D, “will blow your head off”.
Which is exactly what I want from my phone—something that will blow my head off. It’s like my thing.
Any way you go (or anywhere you go), digital maps are becoming increasingly expansive, refined, and intrusive with every step you take:
In a world of GPS-enabled smartphones, you’re not just consulting Google or Apple data stores when you consult a map: you’re adding to them.
Exactly what information the companies collect, and what they do with it, remains much debated. But it’s easy to grasp the basic commercial calculation. The more exactly your phone knows where you are, the more accurately you can be served with advertisements based on the places you’ll be passing. (Ads on Google are already geo-targeted.) There’s no technical reason why, perhaps in return for a cheaper phone bill, you mightn’t consent to be shown not the quickest route between two points, but the quickest route that passes at least one Starbucks. If you’re looking at the world through Google glasses, who determines which aspects of “augmented reality” data you see – and did they pay for the privilege? Combining GPS with the new Indoor Positioning System, which uses cellular and other phone data to track phones much more precisely, shops could easily track customers’ movements among the aisles, adjusting displays on a day-by-day basis for maximum revenue.
“The map is mapping us,” says Martin Dodge, a senior lecturer in human geography at Manchester University.
Now that’s fine, if you’re lost. But if you’re hiding, as I usually am, not from the authorities but from some neighborhood kids who are always after my lunch money, not so much.
For some, the ubiquity of maps — the way they are seeping into every corner of our “real”, concrete world — triggers more nebulous, philosophical worries. With maps always in our pockets, or literally in front of our eyes, might we lose the ability to wander, and to get lost? If we’re constantly glancing at our phones, or being bombarded by extra layers of data about where we’re going, won’t we become disconnected from the world around us? Is there something beneficial in having to stop to ask directions … ?
Every guy reading this is saying in unison: No.
“I actually think it’s easier to get lost these days,” says [cartographer David] Heyman. “Now, when I get to a new city, I can walk off wherever I like, without caring, because I know I’ll be able to get back, consequence-free.” And the idea that we’re losing touch with reality doesn’t hold water, argues [historian Jerry] Brotton. “It’s actually much more interesting than that.” The really important question is: who controls the specific filters on which we’re increasingly coming to rely? “Google and Apple are saying that they want control over people’s real and imagined space.”
Which brings us to the core of the matter. It can be easy to assume that maps are objective: that the world is out there, and that a good map is one that represents it accurately. But that’s not true. Any square mile of the planet can be described in an infinite number of ways: in terms of its natural features, its weather, its socio-economic profile, or what you can buy in the shops there. Traditionally, the interests reflected in maps have been those of states and their armies, because they were the ones who did the mapmaking, and the primary use of many such maps was military. … Now, the power is shifting. “Every map,” the cartography curator Lucy Fellowes once said, “is someone’s way of getting you to look at the world his or her way.” What happens when we come to see the world, to a significant extent, through the eyes of a handful of big companies based in California? You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist, or an anti-corporate crusader, to wonder about the subtle ways in which their values and interests might come to shape our lives.
As opposed to the way we live our lives now. Kewl!
In other news: Bruce Willis in considering taking Cupertino to court because … he can’t leave his iTunes library to his kids should he buy it after flying a motorcycle into a helicopter. Again.
The Hollywood action hero is said to be considering legal action against technology giant Apple over his desire to leave his digital music collection to his daughters.
If he succeeds, he could benefit not just himself and his family but the millions who have purchased songs from Apple’s iTunes Store.
Willis has discovered that, like anyone who has bought music online, he does not actually own the tracks but is instead ‘borrowing’ them under a licence.
Wait a minute, wait a minute: I don’t own my DeFranco Family party mix? What the frak?
UPDATE: Mrs. Bruce Willis, Emma Heming, says the would-be lawsuit is a bunch of hooey. I hope that teaches you bloggers a lesson, not to pass along rumors as facts. This is how Nazi Germany started although I could be wrong about that.