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Google Maps Adds Drone Imagery 141

Posted by timothy
from the hook-'em-horns-but-closer dept.
joshuadugie writes "Slashdot carried a story a while ago that Google had purchased drones for unknown purposes. Google Maps has now added new non-satellite imagery (at UT Austin, for example) when you zoom in close enough. Mystery solved!" I'd like to think that there really are (or were) drones over Austin, but would also like to see Google's explanation for the close-up images.
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Google Maps Adds Drone Imagery

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  • by apparently (756613) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:48PM (#33904078)
    yet you state that in your headline anyway?
    Brilliant.
    • Ummm.... if it's "non-satellite imagery," where else could it be from? I'd think a guy taking pictures out of a Cessna wouldn't be very economical long-term compared to a drone.
      • by MWP-AU (538054) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @10:00PM (#33904170) Homepage
        Actually, yes, sort of... the majority of the higher res images on Google Maps, is taken from light aircraft fitted with specialized camera equipment.
        The imagery is taken most for surveying, council and real-estate uses, not for applications like Google Maps.
        I would bet the Austin imagery is also done this way.

        As an example, http://nearmap.com/ [nearmap.com] offers quite high res imagery.
        Its mentioned here they the photos are taken with low flying aircraft: http://www.nearmap.com/products/photomap-coverage [nearmap.com]
        • Indeed. After all, Bing Maps had the same distinct view angle for quite a while (called "bird's eye"), and I'm not aware of any drones being involved in that.

          • by lxs (131946)

            I've got a Nikon camera,
            Want to strap it to a bird,
            So mama don't take my Kodachrome away.

      • were "drone" and "Cessna." My mistake.
      • by east coast (590680) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @10:05PM (#33904200)
        It seems that this is a joint effort with Sanborn given the copyright notice on the bottom of the image. Sanborn uses LiDAR [sanborn.com] as one of it's tools.

        I'd also like to note that Bing has had areas covered with a similar angular mapping for a while. Their images are tagged with the name Pictometry [wikipedia.org].

        So, yes, it seems it is a "guy taking pictures out of a Cessna". Or something close to it.
      • by colinnwn (677715) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @10:11PM (#33904244)
        My brother used to work as a commercial real estate appraiser. He talked to one of the first guys in Texas (perhaps the US) who retrofitted his Cessna with a viewport, a fancy DSLR, and a laptop. He flew around Houston and other cities in TX once a year or on demand, and took high res images that his software stitched together later. It may not be economical compared to a drone, but it was affordable, especially compared to satellite imagery at the time.

        Were Google's drones just RC craft piloted by a certified pilot on the ground? I thought automated aircraft (no pilot) and RC craft flown by non-pilots were not allowed in controlled airspace in the USA.
        • by adolf (21054) <flodadolf@gmail.com> on Thursday October 14, 2010 @10:57PM (#33904456) Journal

          Were Google's drones just RC craft piloted by a certified pilot on the ground? I thought automated aircraft (no pilot) and RC craft flown by non-pilots were not allowed in controlled airspace in the USA.

          Perhaps.

          But then, until quite recently, I thought that driverless cars [slashdot.org] were not allowed, either.

          YMMV.

          • by icebike (68054)

            The cars are not driver less.

            From the link you posted:
              "With someone behind the wheel to take control if something went awry..."

            • by fractoid (1076465)
              So if someone were sitting near a ground-based transmitter, able to take control of the drone at a second's notice, that would be OK? How many drones can their transmitter control at once before you start classifying them as driverless?
              • by N1AK (864906)

                So if someone were sitting near a ground-based transmitter, able to take control of the drone at a second's notice, that would be OK? How many drones can their transmitter control at once before you start classifying them as driverless?

                I expect his answer would be none. The self-driving car has the full control system of a normal car and a driver present in exactly the same way as a normal car. That is very different from having a driver/pilot available to control the vehicle remotely. What Google did was j

                • by drinkypoo (153816)

                  So if someone were sitting near a ground-based transmitter, able to take control of the drone at a second's notice, that would be OK? How many drones can their transmitter control at once before you start classifying them as driverless?

                  I expect his answer would be none. The self-driving car has the full control system of a normal car and a driver present in exactly the same way as a normal car. That is very different from having a driver/pilot available to control the vehicle remotely.

                  No, it is no different because remotely controlling a model aircraft is legal, and driving a car is legal. Indeed, riding in a model aircraft is not legal; it must be registered and that's not going to happen. You are attempting to create a distinction where none exists. The drone ALSO has the full control system of a radio-controlled vehicle and an operator present in exactly the same way as a normal radio controlled vehicle. Therefore we are comparing the driver sitting by ready to control the car with th

                  • No, it is no different because remotely controlling a model aircraft is legal, and driving a car is legal.

                    However, pretty much every state in the US requires that the driver have 2 hands on the wheel. Not really enforced, mind you; but having an AI drive the vehicle with a human on "stand-by" would indeed still be illegal in the same fashion as driving with your leg, or letting the passenger hold the steering wheel for you, etc. They might not enforce it, but that doesn't mean its legal - just that the la

                • by mcgrew (92797) *

                  What Google did was just an extension of cars that can break for themselves

                  All cars can break for themselves; hell, mine needs new tie rod bushings now. How is that in any way a good thing?

                  Or did you mean "brake"? Dew knot truss yore spill chucker, as you may say something completely different than what you meant to say. If you loose your money you're unwise, if you lose your money you're unlucky. If you brake your car you will stop, if you break your car it won't run. If you break your brakes you may wreck

        • I thought automated aircraft (no pilot) and RC craft flown by non-pilots were not allowed in controlled airspace in the USA.

          Not all US airspace is controlled - in fact, the vast majority is not, particularly at the low altitudes you'd need to be flying at to get this kind of imagery.

          • by colinnwn (677715)
            Used that as a generic term. I'm aware of the vague layout of US airspace. I was a student pilot in the early 1990's but I never got my ticket. Another commenter pointed out drones are not allowed in US airspace above 400 AGL or out of visual range of the operator (they can operate under RC rules).
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by erikscott (1360245)
            Unmanned vehicles are, by regulation, not feasible for commercial use in the US. Having been through this with sciences and engineering departments at two universities (jointly operated institute), I can tell you with certainty that you wouldn't believe the hassle. To fly a UAV, you need a type certified UAV for US airspace, and there aren't any, and it will be decades before there are. So you have to do an individual, case-by-case type approval. It takes months, it takes engineers, and it takes lawyers
        • Anyone having technical knowledge willing to explain whether a drone is more likely to drop off the sky than a helicopter?

          • by colinnwn (677715)
            Everything else equal, a fixed wing drone will be more mechanically reliable than a manned helicopter, nothing to do with the drone, but with the realities of helicopter design.

            Why does the FAA not allow drones in commercial airspace yet? Short answer is no one has took the time and money to develop one and get it certified. The longer answer is it depends on whether you are talking about piloted drones or autonomous drones.

            There is a problem with coordination of pilot or autopilot to ATC requests, a pi
            • by X0563511 (793323)

              AFAIK they do have a transponder code for unmanned craft, so ATC can at least be aware that it's not got a meatbag in it. I think they use the "X" bit (which was previously only used by BOMARC missiles (airborn targets)).

              Given that this identifier would be in addition to whatever normal 4-digit squawk was assigned, I could see how this would work.

              Communicating with the operator may be a bit different. Perhaps implementing some kind of control channel that would allow ATC to issue guidance overrides if requi

            • by Andy Dodd (701)

              "Why does the FAA not allow drones in commercial airspace yet? Short answer is no one has took the time and money to develop one and get it certified. The longer answer is it depends on whether you are talking about piloted drones or autonomous drones. "

              I believe a number of military drones (namely the Global Hawk) do have such certification.

          • colinnwn told you about fixed-wing drones...but a lot of aerial photography is now done with helicopter drones (less safe than a manned heli, they don't auto-rotate as long because they're smaller and have 2-stroke piston engines instead of turbines, but are much cheaper to run than a fixed-wing drone, and of course they can hover) or quadcopters (again less safe, can't auto-rotate at all) or hexacopters (can fly or control their descent with up to 3 dead engines, usually have loads of spare lifting power and are incredibly agile when unladen, but again if they lose all power they drop like a rock).

            Helicopter drones that can do decent aerial photography start at about 4ft. long (and maybe 4ft rotor diameter), a quadcopter or hexacopter would start at about 2ft. in body diameter.

            There are also a few people using zeppelin/blimp drones now which are quite safe, if one lost all its lifting gas and fell on your head you'd just get a bruise if any hard parts hit you, they fall pretty slow because they have the mass-to-surface area ratio of a Chinese take-out box. The only danger with these airships is they can get blown into power lines. The ones that can do aerial photography start at about 20ft. long.

      • by LWATCDR (28044)

        Since flying a drone in US airspace is very difficult and they do require pilots. Yes from a light airplane.
        I would guess that it would cost a lot less than the street view cars do.
        You can probably get a plane and a pilot for less than 100 an hour. It can probably a city in one day. 8x100=$800. Then think about how many hours it will take to drive all over a city at say $20 an hour. The shots from an airplane will be a lot cheaper.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by mysidia (191772)

          You can probably get a plane and a pilot for less than 100 an hour.

          Eh? Even if you dig for the lowest of the low, novice pilots you are paying the pilot $25 an hour, more unless they are your employee, which doesn't include things like plane, fuel, or insurance. Current typical airplane fuel costs are $5 [minimum] per gallon.

          If flying even the lightest turboprop imaginable, this still will consumes approximately 7 gallons of fuel per hour, probably more by the time they've gotten all their various

          • by LWATCDR (28044)

            You are probably right. Even at 200 hour it is sitll not going to be as expensive as street view.

      • by icebike (68054) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @11:53PM (#33904714)

        Ummm.... if it's "non-satellite imagery," where else could it be from?
        I'd think a guy taking pictures out of a Cessna wouldn't be very economical long-term compared to a drone.

        Lots of imagery on Google Earth and Google Maps is non-satellite imagery when you zoom in close. Look at Downtown Seattle some time. You can see the sides of buildings.

        Google gets images from a lot of places. In the case of Seattle and NYC the images were taken by aircraft under contract to the city for their own use, and purchased by Google. The resolution is almost as good as the UT Austin images. You can see some weird leaning buildings in Google Earth.

        These images were there long before Google even announced the purchase of these drones.

      • by fractoid (1076465)

        Ummm.... if it's "non-satellite imagery," where else could it be from?
        I'd think a guy taking pictures out of a Cessna wouldn't be very economical long-term compared to a drone.

        Yeah, and I'd think a guy taking pictures out of a car to make a map as he drives up and down every single street in the world wouldn't be very economical... oh wait [google.com.au]. (Then again, drones you say? Oh snap.) [wsj.com]

      • by mysidia (191772)

        The idea that pictures over such a small area were taken from an aircraft is both simpler and more likely than a drone, a new technology that Google might (or might not) have plans to use to take pictures for Gmaps.

      • hilariously enough, most of the pictures of google earth (at least, originally, and still partially true today) are "Non satellite imagery". They are high altitude Aerial survey pictures. Taken from around 20 thousand feet, done by the USGS starting around 1987, I know for a fact that google started out with these, and only in more recent years has bought satellite data.
        info about the USGS aerial surveys. http://egsc.usgs.gov/isb/pubs/booklets/aerial/aerial.html [usgs.gov]
        • Oh, aditionally, on the actual 'google earth' not the website version, at least by default, when zoomed in, the source of the data you are looking at is listed at the bottom of the screen. Texas for example, when zoomed in to a particular degree, is provided by the Texas Orthoimagery Program (high altitude photography for those to lazy to google). Most of the closer data is provided that way, be it USGS data, or independent state programs.
        • by Andy Dodd (701)

          Much of the USGS data has been replaced with higher resolution aerial orthoimagery in many states, usually from a state government data source.

          Definitely:
          New York (imagery taken under contract on behalf of New York GIS)
          New Jersey
          Pennsylvania

          In all three of the above cases, you can actually get the original orthoimagery yourself from the respective state's government GIS organization as a free download, with a MUCH less restrictive license than Google's.

      • by Threni (635302)

        You're right. The headline should have named you, and quoted from your thoughts, because this is your blog, and your opinion is highly relevant to people other than your mother.

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      From the resolution it's likely not from satellites (I don't think satellites can photograph people yet - at least not commercial satellites).

      Secondly when zooming in at a certain zoom level (some 3, 4 levels before maximum zoom), the copyright data changes (see the little line at the bottom of the images). These close-up aerial photos have been made by Google themselves.

      Indeed whether it has been done by manned aircraft or drones you can't tell from the photos, but with the current state-of-the-art of un

      • Some of the new imagery, at least the imagery around Ann Arbor, Mich. were done this summer, sometime around April-June 2010.

        Isn't it possible to just check flight plans around some of these cities?
    • You're right. I checked a little more after I submitted the article (should have done it first). The images seem to be taken from about 20000 ft, but the drones purchased (http://microdrones.com/en_md4-1000_tech_data.php) can only fly up to about 3000 ft. These must have been from a plane instead. I apologize for the incorrect conclusion.
      • by SEWilco (27983)
        Google "aerial photography" and notice all the ads which sell you the photos. Or look in your local Yellow Pages, where you can get photos of your house if you wish.
    • These aren't the drones you're looking for, you can go about your business. Move along.
    • by b1t r0t (216468)

      Austin has had max zoom for years, and almost certainly from aerial photography. I do see that there is a new 45-degree view, but there is still nothing to indicate that they used an unmanned drone to take the pictures. There's no good reason they can't just tilt the camera on a normal aerial photography plane.

      Others have mentioned that licenses for a commercial company to operate unmanned drones over cities are very hard to get. What if the drones are for UN-populated areas? There's been plenty of aerial

    • by Andy Dodd (701)

      It's probably a case of a new manned aerial imagery source becoming available.

      Is this new imagery also showing in Google Earth? (I can't check from my current location). GEarth is usually a bit more verbose than GMaps regarding copyright details.

      At very high zoom levels, it is only listing Google as the copyright holder, but this may be an error. However, Google may have hired out to a more traditional source for this.

      I'm not sure if the microdrones described have the flight stability in turbulence to pr

  • It's old news (Score:4, Informative)

    by sanchom (1681398) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @09:53PM (#33904108)
    http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2009/12/changing-your-perspective.html [blogspot.com] Just starting to be available in more places it looks like.
  • But, I a am in doubt that it is really news worthy. "Google adds new level to zoom" :|
  • I wonder when this tech will be cheap enough to be commonly used for private security (guarding installations) and private investigators.
  • Satellites are also capable of shooting oblique views [carleton.edu], too. I have no idea what Google did.

  • Am I the only one who thinks these new drone images are horrific? Sure, the detail is great, but the perspective is totally whack when viewed in 2D map mode. It will probably look a lot better on the 3d Google Earth buildings when they apply the textures correctly, but for now it looks awful.

    • That's because, in most likeliness, these images are "leftovers" from aerial surveying and were never really meant to be used in the fashion they are today. Their original purpose probably has nothing to do with Google Maps.
      • by wvmarle (1070040)

        Google appears to have made those photos themselves. See the copyright notices on the bottom of the images.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Jesse_vd (821123)
          I see "Texas Orthoimagery Program" which lead me to this
          http://www.tnris.state.tx.us/News/InFocus_tpl.aspx?id=1756
          • by wvmarle (1070040)

            At the zoom level provided directly by the link I see "(C)2010 Google - map data (C)2010 Google"

            Zooming out you get the name you give (probably aerial photography again) specifically for the imagery.

            Zoom out a little more and it's all copyright Google again.

            Even further zoomed out (satellite level): "imagery (C)2010 TerraMetrics."

            And beyond that it appears to be pure mapping.

          • by lxs (131946)

            I thought it said "Texas Ornithoimagery Program" and was wondering if they were using bird mounted cams.

        • The copyright notices also mention Sanborn. Once you take a look at what Sanborn does as a business you'll see what I'm talking about.
    • I've been using a similar feature in Bing Maps, and no, it's not awful if used for its intended purpose - which is to get a quick glance of the area under an angle where the actual shapes of the landmarks are visible (and will be recognizable once you're on the ground there).

      • Yeah over the past few years I've found it a lot more helpful for getting my bearings before visiting a place than the (nearly) straight down view, being able to see the sides of buildings AND in bing's case pan around really helps you figure out where things are and IMO its still clearer than streetview for that. You can move onto streetview to find specific shops and buildings but as an intermediate layer the oblique angle is really good

  • by kurokame (1764228) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @10:06PM (#33904206)
    Look, everyone knows that the Google index server has evolved sentience and is currently hunting for Sarah Connor. You might as well just admit that's what the drones were really for.
    • You mean John Connor.

    • s/drone/HK ?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Jason Levine (196982)

      It should really just Google for her.

      Which leads me to imagine a modern recreation of the Terminator movies. The T800 comes back in time, walks into a Starbucks, accesses their free WiFi (pushing aside a guy drinking a half-caf low-fat milk latte), accesses Sarah Connor's Twitter feed, sees her latest Foursquare check-in location and then goes there to find her. Somehow, it doesn't seem as compelling as the original, though.

  • It's not drones (Score:4, Informative)

    by deapbluesea (1842210) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @10:08PM (#33904222)

    Drones are illegal in the US without a Certificate to Operate from the FAA. The FAA does not provide CtO's lightly, nor have they ever granted one for operation over a populated area...and before anyone links to DIY Drones, this rule is for corporations, not individuals who operate under r/c rules (under 400 ft AGL, within sight without any vision enhancement devices such as binoculars).

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I sat through a presentation not too long ago where a rural sheriff's department from Colorado was relating their experiences in trying to get permission to use their UAV for SAR, etc. They had a really hard time doing so unless there was an immediate loss-of-life threat. The UAV was tremendously useful in searching for people over very rugged terrain.
  • looks just like the birds eye view that Microsoft Bing maps use
  • by Urza9814 (883915) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @10:27PM (#33904338)

    Google Maps, AFAIK, has _always_ included non-satellite imagery. Higher resolution images have _always_ been from aerial photographs taken by aircraft. From the Google Blog, a few days ago:

    ...The folks who created Google Earth devised a way to stitch aerial and satellite imagery together into a seamless, searchable map of the world and make it available to anyone with a computer...

    http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/10/world-as-eagle-and-wild-goose-see-it.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+blogspot/MKuf+(Official+Google+Blog)&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher [blogspot.com]

  • Is it legal to fly remote-controlled aircraft over built-up areas in the US? I'm pretty sure it's not in Australia.
    OTOH, there isn't much that is legal in Australia these days. Ain't it a bitch?

    • by pckl300 (1525891)
      Remote controlled aircraft are restricted in Australia? Like even RC planes and such? I imagine Google's not breaking the law, though you never know...
  • No one else has found the drone's shadow? Hint: On campus and between two majestic symbols of academia.
  • by jtara (133429) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @10:56PM (#33904452)

    I kid you not, I can see the RG6 on the roof of the building across the street! (San Diego)

    I took a look at my own building first to see if there were new, higher-resolution images. Sure enough, I could see the plastic conduit on our roof that carries the Cox cables to each stack. I think it's about a 4" conduit.

    Just for yucks, I pan over to the building across the street, and I can see the bare RG6 laid on the roof.

    Voila! I now have the photographs to accompany my presentation to the HOA about how stupid it is that our cable is laid-out orthogonally, as opposed to the sensible, star layout across the street. (It's so stupidly laid-out that it accounts for the 8db difference between my living-room drop and bedroom drop.)

    See link below. (What the heck, privacy is dead, right?) This isn't even at maximum zoom, you can zoom in further yourself. I left it at this zoom level so you can see both buildings at the same time.

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=2414+Front+Street,+San+Diego,+CA&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=36.726391,79.013672&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=2414+Front+St,+San+Diego,+California+92101&ll=32.730802,-117.165676&spn=0.000842,0.001206&t=h&z=20 [google.com]

  • From the summary: "I'd like to think that there really are (or were) drones over Austin, but would also like to see Google's explanation for the close-up images."

    It's Google implementing a feature Bing has had available for over a year - the Bird's Eye view.

    • From the summary: "I'd like to think that there really are (or were) drones over Austin, but would also like to see Google's explanation for the close-up images."

      It's Google implementing a feature Bing has had available for over a year - the Bird's Eye view.

      Here's a list of 150 cities with bird's eye imagery on Bing: http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cid=546E7E30AC2C5011!250 [bing.com]

      I seem to recall an MS mapping page predating Bing having the feature since 2006ish.

      It's cool that Google is doing this, too, and I bet they're doing it the legal way: with small aircraft containing real pilots, not drones.

      • Yes, for a long time local.live.com has the bird's eye imagery. Since at least 2004, since I recall using it to shop for my first home.
  • Drones to do aerial photos isn't that scary. If those photos were live, or nearly live, that might be scary.

    Now I'll have to wonder about every plane circling a sports stadium towing an advertisement. The Google Ad Drones will probably swarm and have self-changing ads. And they'll never fly away since there is no pilot to need a break.

    For photos, it might make sense to use drones when they can get closer without attracting attention. Or maybe they can be flying early and late in the day for those peopl

    • by GrahamCox (741991)
      . And they'll never fly away since there is no pilot to need a break

      By the same token there's no reason to have many qualms about shooting it down...
    • by Thud457 (234763)
      500-2000 swarming airbots with high-intensity LEDs and you've put the aerial banner guys out of business. Can you get enough power from solar to run something like that yet?
    • by phliar (87116)

      For photos, it might make sense to use drones when they can get closer without attracting attention.

      Never going to happen. The fundamental principle in the US National Airspace System is "see and avoid". If you're not actually in a cloud, you are responsible for avoiding other aircraft. If there's no pilot in the aircraft, it can't avoid others. (Remember that some aircraft do not even have electrical systems, let alone fancy shit like radios and transponders.)

      The military can fly unmanned aircraft, bu

  • The same maroon suburban is there both in street view and the 100' aerial view. I guess the drone follows the street view car around.

    Looks like under 100' to me.

    • by oljanx (1318801)
      I noticed the same thing. If you scroll around you'll see quite a few cars parked in the same or nearby spaces between the drone/street view photos. How long until we get "Google Live View"?
  • I was just over at youtube testing my connection quality and noticed new videos of "UFO's" sighted over NYC on Oct 13th, and now this article. What's the chance that umbrela corp.... uh... I mean google is not connected to those :) And for the record I love google and most things they do, but if some day in a not-too-distant future it turns out that they have an underground lab with some genetics ad-placement experiments, I will not be surprised one bit.
    • by Jesse_vd (821123)
      From the huffington post

      conclusion: balloons from a Times Square event promoting Spanish Tourism
      • by russotto (537200)

        conclusion: balloons from a Times Square event promoting Spanish Tourism

        The ones from ABC news were clearly balloons -- not weather balloons, just ordinary party balloons. The large object was a bunch of them still stuck together, the many smaller ones were individual balloons.

        Fox news had an even sillier film. Against a dark sky, one bright light in the center, two dimmer lights on either side. An airplane viewed from almost head-on.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Several prominent features of Eastwoods Park just north west of UT Austin are missing in these photos showing that their age to be at least 4 years old, taken well before they made their German micro-drone purchase. Various other construction and deconstruction projects around the area of viewable non-satallite imagery confirm that these are all old aerial photos of several years in age.

  • don't welcome our new Google overlords.

  • I thought this would be about tiny cameras fitted on male bees.
  • The only sat imagery in google earth has only reasolutions of up to 15m/pixel.
    Everything thats good enough identify individual houses has always been areal imagery.
    I mean, just look at citites, you can actually _see_ the tilt of the scyscrapers not centered in the image (which would be nil for a sat in LEO or above.
    If you really look around you can even see the shadow the for observation plane at some point.

    And just in case: government has kept aerial imagery catalogs for decades. Its not that google invent

  • Since I live in Austin, not far from the UT campus, I just brought up Google Maps and had a look ... and there we are, my wife and me in our front yard. We just happened to be outside when the image was made. I admit to feeling just a bit creeped out.

  • Speaking of Google maps, in January they removed the extremely useful "saved locations" feature in order to force people to turn on "web history". There are 6 pages worth of complaints from over 200 people on the Google Maps help forum [google.com] and not a single positive feedback.

    Does Google give a shit?

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