Google has been accused of many things in its comparatively short history.
The Marketing Monster of Mountain View has felt the wrath of the US Federal Trade Commission on several occasions.
But callously running down an innocent pack animal in rural Kweneng District, Bostwana? Someone’s valuable and much loved property?
Surely that’s stooping to a whole new level?
Incredibly, Google not only deaded a donkey, but documented the dastardly deed, and dobbed itself in, on its very own Rural Africa Street View service!
Eagle-eyed Google Maps users [Vulture-eyed might have been a better choice, Ed.] found the evidence here, in this sequence of successive Street View photos showing the Googmobile driving callously away from the dead or dying beast.
1. Just after impact, where the donkey seems to have gone under the wheels or have fallen into the road after being hit from the side:
2. The car carries on regardless:
3. And it just keeps on driving, leaving the donkey flattened in the dust:
Actually, it didn’t happen like that. (And the Googlers who drive Street View cars probably don’t say “dude” all the time, like our Dumb-and-Dumber types do in the photo-captions above.)
You can see what the problem is with the evidence, can’t you?
Cultural presumption, that’s what!
The photos above are in reverse order. The car isn’t retreating at all.
Like most of Southern and East Africa, Botswana used to be under British colonial rule.
And whatever regrettable legacies Perfidious Albion might have left in its overseas demenses, there was one thing it got right.
Or, more precisely, left.
Here’s the clue, in a photo taken shortly before the donkey encounter, showing a vehicle approaching in the other direction, but on the right-hand side.
Google’s car was travelling, as the law requires, on the left side of the road.
The Googlers approached the donkey, slowed down, and stopped to watch.
Just like an elephant or a horse might do, the donkey was having a nice dust bath. After a little while it got up and trotted off to the roadside.
The internet’s a fruitful – some would say endless – source of data, much of which simply comes to you by the ultrabyte.
But making information out of that data… that still requires your personal thought and attention!
Be careful out there.
Oh, and keep to the speed limit. Especially on dirt roads.