I spent a day this week touring Pittsburgh via Google Street View, which is amazing. Now comes news that a Pittsburgh couple has sued Google for including their house in street view, claiming that it has harmed their property’s value. But you could already view a less attractive picture of their house on the Allegheny County assessment web site, and learn all sorts of other facts about it. (They bought it in 2006 for $163,000; current assessed value, $121,000; condition, Fair; Grade: D+; etc.) I would think that Google’s images increase the value of the house.
I’m reminded of the old lawyer joke: Scientists are starting to use lawyers in their experiments instead of rats. Why? Two reasons. First, they’ve found that, after a while, researchers start getting attached to the rats. That’s not a problem with lawyers. Second, they’ve found that there are some things that rats won’t do….