Losing a loved one brings on an onslaught of grief, and their possessions and photos of the person are sometimes the only physical, tangible proof they existed. Barring physical photos, sometimes digital memories also suffice. In remember, social media users are now sharing digital reminders of their since-deceased loved ones. In a new trend, Google Street View images featuring friends and relatives is letting people relive their moments. The trend was sparked by a post on the Twitter account Fesshole, which asks followers to submit anonymous confessions, many of which are explicit. The original poster said they had searched the map platform for images taken before their father had died. Launched in 2007, Google Street View is now a part of almost every country in the world.
“I go on Google maps to the images that were dated as being taken before my dad died so I can walk around a little bit in a world where he is still with me," read the tweet.
I go on Google maps to the images that were dates as being taken before my dad died so I can walk around a little bit in a world where he is still with me.— Fesshole (@fesshole) June 16, 2021
Soon, people were sharing photos from Google street view which still has them.
One user, Neil Henderson, summed up why these Google Street View photos are different from any other memory: They feel real. “The weird thing Is that obv I have literally hundreds of pics of my dad, but the google street view is quite affecting, like he’s still around," he wrote.
This isn’t the first time people have realized Google Street View re-uniting family.
My grandpa passed away a few years ago. We didn’t get to say goodbye to him. Yesterday we found out google maps finally drove through his farm and as we were curious going through it, where the road ends, there is my grandpa, just sitting there. 😭 pic.twitter.com/CbwRTkCKrZ— yajaira (@yajairalyb) January 7, 2020
Matthew J. X. Malady in 2015, in a piece in the New Yorker called, ‘The Ghosts in Our Machines,’ wrote what it felt like finding his mother in an old street view photo, “The confluence of emotions, when I registered what I was looking at, was unlike anything I had ever experienced—something akin to the simultaneous rush of a million overlapping feelings. There was joy, certainly—“Mom! I found you! Can you believe it?”—but also deep, deep sadness. There was heartbreak and hurt, curiosity and wonder, and everything, seemingly, in between."
Maybe not all modern technology is bad. But what happens if one day the photos get updated? There is a way to look back at previous incarnations - by tapping the clock icon on the top left-hand side of Google Maps (the feature does not appear on Google Earth), if it is still there.