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This weekend I got a call from a out-of-town close relative who said she was viewing my residence street on her computer. “Have you seen Google’s new Street View?” she gushed. “I’m looking at pictures of the front door of your apartment building right now!”

I did check out the new feature of the Google Maps site, in which you can see grainy street pictures from virtually every location, facing in any direction, of streets found in U.S. cities, including New York, San Francisco, Miami, Denver, and Las Vegas. It’s a fascinating extension of Google’s already mind-blowing map and satellite search engines. It ain’t perfect — for instance, the shot above left is the front of American Photo‘s office building at 1633 Broadway, no matter the listed address — but it’s great fun.

And it’s a logistical marvel that makes you wonder where all those cameras are and when they’re firing. A backlash has already started in articles like the one posted here, in which city dwellers contemplate the possible embarrassments of being photographed in public.