A Singaporean man, who misses his late grandmother, has found a novel way of reconnecting with her each time he misses her — via Google Maps.
He took to TikTok to briefly show how he is able to catch a glimpse of his late grandparent, as a result of a chance occurrence where the elderly lady was captured by the Google Street View camera mapping the terrain there at that time.
Scroll back to 2009 Street View map
The TikTok first showed the Google Street View of the pedestrian crossing along Hougang Central road opposite the bus interchange as captured in 2022.
By scrolling all the way back to the year 2009, an elderly woman carrying an umbrella and plastic bags could be seen waiting at the pedestrian crossing in one of the frames.
According to the video, the elderly woman is the TikToker’s late grandmother.
@retroridersg Every Chinese new year whenever I miss my late grandma, I would come to google map and she will be there. miss you grandma. #fyp #foryoupage #coldplayyellow #cny2023 #grandma ♬ original sound – Lariexxx
The video’s caption said: “Every Chinese new year whenever I miss my late grandma, I would come to google map and she will be there. miss you grandma.”
This unlikely reconnecting of grandparent and grandchild was made possible as a result of Google’s lofty aim of mapping the entire world.
The Street View capture of the terrain of Hougang more than 14 years ago serendipitously has apparently done more than that.
The facial features of people in Street View are blurred out though, as it is Google’s way of protecting the privacy of these individuals, but that has not stopped people from being able to identify their loved ones.
A number of the responses to the video commiserated with the TikToker about losing a grandparent.
In response to these comments, the TikToker revealed that his grandmother had passed on two years ago.
Many of the comments also urged the man to take screenshots of the Google Street View, as there is no guarantee it will serve as a reliable and durable time capsule given the ephemeral nature of digital data.
Other responses said they wished they could have benefitted from this technology but their grandparents had passed away in the 1990s, when such detailed documentation did not exist.
At least one commenter took a different approach by calling out the TikToker for supposedly identifying a random elderly person on the street and claiming the person as his own grandmother.
This led to other snarky comments, but others chimed in to call out the response as unnecessary and rude.
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