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Are Google's StreetView drivers humans or robots?

A heartless Google StreetView driver filmed a grieving, unconscious drunken man in Australia but didn't stop to help.

Bill's friend, the one with whom he was going on a motorbike holiday in Tasmania, suddenly died. Bill, being upset and Australian, went out and got drunk.

A cab dropped him off back at his house. But he collapsed before he could get to his front door.

So along came a friendly Google StreetView camera car. The Australian version of the service was to be launched August 4. So the Googler had a lot of filming to do.

He shot the prostrate Bill who was lying on his back, his feet sticking out into the road.

This was a click and run.

CC re-ality

The driver didn't stop to see whether Bill was all right. He didn't even get out of his camera car to move Bill's feet away from the curb. Like a paparazzo, his deadline seemed to be more important than something that could have been a dead body.

Did his shot of the beFostered Bill make the first edition of Google StreetView Australia? Too right, mate.

Bill (he doesn't want his last name plastered all over the place as well as his drunken pose) was as sanguine as the Australian Prime Minister, who, when he was seen getting drunk in an New York strip club, remarked: "I think any bloke who's honest about their lives can point to times in their lives when they've got it wrong."

Speaking of his dead friend, Bill said: "'I know what he would have done if I left --he would have partied, too. That's what I would've wanted him to do, so that's what I did with some friends."

However, he added: "I wasn't really thinking there would be someone driving by with a video camera on the roof filming me, either."

Who was the anti-Samaritan driving that Google camera car? Are his parents made of metal? What sort of instructions did he have? Why didn't he get out to help? And why didn't anyone at Google Australia notice that there was, well, a body lying in the street? (Google only removed the image after Bill's story came to light)

I know that people make jokes about Google being the quintessential engineering company. And that is something this blog will never stoop to (being an engineering company, that is).

But I hope you, too, would like to know how the company reacted to one of its drivers leaving a man lying in the street while he filmed him.

Or could it be that this driver was, in fact, yet another robot with vision problems?