When Wired magazine published a story about the ubiquitous, albeit anonymous, Apple and Google buses turning residential San Francisco neighborhoods into busy thoroughfares used to pick up and drop off their employees, some neighbors were so curious about it — or annoyed, depending on who you ask — they started tracking the frequency of their routes through otherwise quiet streets. They didn’t use “specialized” tracking software, such as Comet Fleet, to track these mega-buses. Instead, they used a simple Wi-Fi monitor on their home computers which alerted them of Wi-Fi activity, which the buses are equipped with. And the activity turned out to be in the dozens, sometimes passing through the same residential street up to 40 times per day. For Apple and Google, this could certainly pose some problems down the road; perhaps even new legislation restricting traffic from commuter buses in residential neighborhoods. Some disgruntled San Franciscans have even resorted to throwing produce and other items at the buses, expressing their frustration at spikes in home and rental prices due to the “convenience” of the commuter bus and giving high-paid tech execs the ability to live in the city and work in Silicon Valley.
As our web of connectivity grows stronger and expands, what we monitor and track expands too — making the coming years an interesting time for the tech industry. One thing’s for sure: Not even the giants can escape being watched.
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