Last week I wrote about the conversational and coordination accounts of Google Maps. I would like to now take it one step further and showcase an actual emotional account. This account is backed by a living person, with acutal emotional responses to the Google Maps application. For the sake of confidentiality, let’s refer to my subject as X.
I started by asking X how much experience has he had using Google Maps. He replied with, “eh, only a little. I generall use Mapquest.” I asked X to sit down in front of my PC and to access Google. He did with ease. I then proceeded to tell X to find Google Maps, which was also easy for him because it is one of seven google application links. Once he arrived, I asked him to use google maps to look up any location around the world. He, of course, chose his home in Chicago. Once the search querie returned results, I asked him to pause. The application had arrived to a screen where the only content is displayed in the map window. I asked X what the first then he noticed when the page appeared and he replied with, the picture next to his address. I then told him to explore but to not drift too far away. He began clicking around the screen to figure out how Google Maps really works and learning about the navigational buttons. He clicked the zoom out button a lot and I was forced to ask him to zoom back in. Soon after that, he noticed street view. When he first clicked that button, he was flabbergasted. I looked directly at his face and he seemed utterly shocked that he was staring at his neighbors home. He immediately asked me, “is this live?” I responded with, “probably not, that seems illegal.”
The first emotion I noticed from X was shock. The event that introduced this shock was accessing the street view application. Once he overcame the shock he reached the point where X seemed to forget he was a part of my school project and began to explore on his own free will. He eagerly clicked up and down the streets of his neighborhood and pointed out many houses where friends live. He even found his way to his favorite restaurant. All I could do is sit and wonder is how envolved was I when I first noticed the application? Did I just as giddily run around my own neighborhood? The answer is yes probably.
It was difficult as an observer to measure his emotional engagement on a scale because i did not have a guantemo lab with heart, skin, breath, and body sensors. But I was able to judge his experience based on facial language. While using Google Maps, X felt a positive valence to Google Maps. While visiting place after place and exploring the streets via Google Maps, I tried to understand why he enjoyed the appliaction so much. I figured out that he enjoyed it so much because it allowed him to relate to his life back home while sitting in my living room. He was able to see his home, his favorite restaurant, his friends homes, he even showed me where he drank his first beer. Not only was he able to be back home while sitting in my living room, he was able to take me with him. You can always tell who a good friend is when they feel like sharing their lives with you.