Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Off the grid is great until you need a pizza

The idea of getting off the grid, unplugging, having some privacy from the digital world that follows you around in your pocket, is appealing. Some people do it. Many have envisioned it. There are practicalities to consider like services that you hope you will never need but if you do, you really, really need. Like emergency services.

Or pizza. Trying getting DoorDash when you don't have an address. Or Amazon Prime. Sure, these are things we can live without but we sure have become accustomed to instant gratification, delivered, haven't we?

I just purchased a new address that didn't exist. We moved, actually, to a brand new home. So new, the neighborhood is still being built around it. So new, Google didn't know it existed.

Let that sink in a second. Google didn't know my address existed. It felt like I had disappeared in a sense. In the sense that Google couldn't find me. Of course, they could but it was harder to be found by the people I wanted to find me. Like family. Or pizza delivery. Or, more importantly, furniture delivery.

In the satellite view in Google Maps, our house is still being built but anything north of us is still dirt. Those homes don't even exist on the satellite images yet. Interestingly, Apple Maps had already had our address. Google was behind the curve.

Now I know about Plus Codes and pins. These are features inside Google maps that allow you to share a location without an address. Or, you can share a specific location even if a building has an address. Like a specific entrance to a large building or venue.

I actually asked Google to take me back. "Please, Google, put me on the map." Which, of course, they did. Whatever momentary illusion to privacy I held is gone. But, I got my pizza and if I'm lucky the furniture will arrive later today so I'll have something to sit on when I eat it.

Thank you Google. I'm sorry I ever thought to leave you.