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Spamming Google Maps 225

An anonymous reader writes "Google organized a flyover of Sydney, Australia last Friday for Australia Day. The images taken on the day will be posted to Google Maps in a few weeks. A number of dotcoms spent hours making huge signs that would be visible from the air. It will be interesting to see whether Google will repeat the event in other cities. If they do, get prepared early. What sign would you make?"
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Spamming Google Maps

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  • None (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Turn-X Alphonse ( 789240 ) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @11:04AM (#17789736) Journal
    None, because it ruins the entire point of maps if you turn them into nothing but billboards.
    • Re:None (Score:5, Interesting)

      by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @11:10AM (#17789780) Homepage Journal

      None, because it ruins the entire point of maps if you turn them into nothing but billboards.
      Does it, though? I could see, for instance, fast food chains getting in on the action. Imagine, if you will, if all of the KFCs got together and on the roof of each of the KFC restauraunts is a huge image of Colonel Sanders at the time Google is doing the fly-by photos. You'd know right where get your Original Recipe(tm) Bucket of Chicken without even searching!
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by suv4x4 ( 956391 )
        None, because it ruins the entire point of maps if you turn them into nothing but billboards.

        This is easily solved by the online maps simply not announcing where they'll shoot next week. Unless you have the money to spam the entire world, for an year...
      • I'm only replying because the parent was modded 'insightful'. You don't need to spam images. The query 'KFC near whereveriam' works just fine. That's the powerful thing about google doing maps in the first place. Heck, I use google maps as my primary phone book these days.
        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          The query 'KFC near whereveriam' works just fine.

          But will "restaurants near whereveriam" return KFC over other restaurants? If you see Colonel Sanders or the cows [] on the map, you're more likely to crave "chikin" than a burger. Not that this helps on Sunday, mind you.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Omestes ( 471991 )
          Good point, but this isn't how things work anymore. For some reason companies have eschewed things such as the concept of brand loyalty, for the idea of shoving their image down your throat until you gag.

          Go watch some sports, especially NASCAR, and notice that you've somehow been conned into watching a 2 hour commercial for Redbull, Oil, and Viagra, with the added joy of some commercials in between. All sports are like this now, I caught part of ESPN2's recap of the winter "X" Games, pardon, the JEEP wint
          • Go watch some sports, especially NASCAR, and notice that you've somehow been conned into watching a 2 hour commercial for Redbull, Oil, and Viagra

            Sounds like buying a Windows machine. I see them in coffee shops every once in a while sprinkled in between the Apples. You can spot them pretty easily because they've got stickers all over them: "Made for Windows XP," "Intel Inside," "VIIV," "NVidia," "High Speed USB," "Wireless-G" and sometimes an entire sticker with the specifications of the machine or a Win

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Hrodvitnir ( 101283 )
            "I'm wondering how long it will be until all Americans are legally forced to tattoo some product to themselves in a visible area."

            Don't be silly. The government won't need to make a law like this. The free market will handle it. By 2040 we will all need the revenue from these tattoos to stay above the poverty line.
      • Bullseye (Score:5, Funny)

        by krygny ( 473134 ) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @11:30AM (#17789888)
        If you look at the roof of the Target store in College Point, NY, there's a huge logo. Not such a good idea.
      • Much easier and *CHEAPER* to simply have their resturants listed on Google Earth - which is free.
    • Re:None (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Score Whore ( 32328 ) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @11:47AM (#17790000)

      None, because it ruins the entire point of maps if you turn them into nothing but billboards.
      Ummm. This is Google we're talking about. The guys who do everything they can to convince people to place ads on every page on the internet? (As an fyi, Google's ads frequently make up 20-30% of the data transfered when you load up a page with their ads.)

      Have you ever put something like "Mt. Rainier" into Google maps? Does it seem fucking stupid that Mt. Rainier is not one of the returned results? Maybe Google has already "ruined the entire point of maps."
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Spacezilla ( 972723 )

        As an fyi, Google's ads frequently make up 20-30% of the data transfered when you load up a page with their ads.
        I think you just made up that number in your head, but I guess if you found some REALLY small web pages with no images at all, you might be right.
      • by HUADPE ( 903765 )
        Have you ever put something like "Mt. Rainier" into Google maps? Does it seem fucking stupid that Mt. Rainier is not one of the returned results?

        It's only not one of the results if you don't think Mt. Rainier National Park counts. &sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=31.701751,82.265625&i e=UTF8&om=1&z=10&ll=46.80664,-121.573334&spn=0.427 681,1.2854&t=k&iwloc=D []

      • by Restil ( 31903 )
        I haven't done any bandwidth calculations, but 20-30% of the TEXT portion of a page sounds about right. A single image will throw that ratio out the window though. However, the bigger issue with google ads comes about not in the total data transfered, but when loading the ad itself causes the page to freeze up if there's any delay in loading it, which there is sometimes. I ended up taking the ad off the front page of my site but left it on back pages that don't get as many hits and I still make as much m
      • This is Google we're talking about. The guys who do everything they can to convince people to place ads on every page on the internet?

        Not really. Much of the reason that so many people prefer Google is that Google makes an effort to promote results that are genuinely useful, rather than someone attempting to splash a commercial in everyone's face. Paid advertisements are present (sometimes even useful), but they're clearly marked and kept separate from the actual results.

        If this practice becomes more

    • What is the point of a map? How is a map with a logo in a field any less of a map than one with a plain field?

      It would seem to me that the point of Google Maps is to provide a fairly current snapshot of the Earth. If the reality is that people erect a sign, why should it not be included in Google Earth? If it were meant to be a political map with physical relief, like the one on the wall beside me, then the whole of France would be purple.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by General Wesc ( 59919 )

      I thought maps were for finding your way around. Seems like if my house had 'Wesc's House' painted on the roof, it would be beneficial.

      I think putting something up just for the mapping and then removing it could be problematic, as you're intentionally making the map quickly become out-of-date, but unless your banner obscures something, still no real harm. Though, I suppose it could get annoying if everyone did it.

      • Though, I suppose it could get annoying if everyone did it.

        Not necessarily. If this catches on and forgetting commercial and practical considerations for a moment, think of the possibility of turning this into a sort of urban art piece/performance, with the world as interactive mosaic. And then, Phase Two will begin: hunting for easter eggs in Google Satellite.

        You could get a bunch of people together to line up their cars in an open field, spelling out a huge message.
        I can imagine some people will probab
    • Difference here is Google made the announcement to get people to do just that. Now what I'd really be for is these companies doing these signs on top of their own establishments. Want to know whats around you? Head to Google Maps & see whats around.
  • Of course (Score:5, Funny)

    by LlamaDragon ( 97577 ) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @11:05AM (#17789744) Journal
    "Hi Mom!"

    She always loves that.
  • by rawket.scientist ( 812855 ) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @11:09AM (#17789770)
    An arrow pointing to my asshole neighbor's house with the caption "Unsecured wireless network here!!"
  • by wowbagger ( 69688 ) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @11:10AM (#17789782) Homepage Journal
    There's only one thing to put on such a sign:

    "Mostly Harmless"

  • All Your Base Are Belong To Us
  • by markh1967 ( 315861 ) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @11:15AM (#17789802)
    Where I live right now is just a very low-res blur on Google Earth and Maps. We've had a banner on the roof of our garage that reads "Fuck off Google!" in 3' high letters for the past two years just waiting for the day they update their imagery. We're still waiting...
  • Over the last week or so there's been a lot of Slashdot stories about spam, but I guess now it's cool!

    1: Get your preppy nerd mates to spam google about your blog
    2:Spam /. about your blog
    3: ???????
    4: Profit!

    Who cares if we have to wait an age to see if Google actually took your photograph? The important thing is that, as with most weekends, news articles are hard to come by and someone who probably describes themselves as "whacky" or "insane"* managed to spam Google and /.. Cool.

    *If you're the type of
  • The best part. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Eevee ( 535658 ) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @11:19AM (#17789832)
    The signs were too small. All you'll see in the final resolution is a thin white line. You're talking about possibly four or five pixels wide.
  • There is even Penis Spam on google maps:

    The Yarm School in the UK (Kids Drawing a Penis on the Roof) ll=54.506361,-1.35223&z=19 []

    .. and of course the classic Penis-on-the-frozen-lake: =en&ll=41.049308,-73.600947&z=18 []
  • by ForestGrump ( 644805 ) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @11:33AM (#17789902) Homepage Journal
    Does it really matter when google has spammed first?

    For example, look
    here []. It is off the california coast, near LAX.


    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pla ( 258480 )
      For example, look here. It is off the california coast, near LAX.

      Sorry, I don't get it - I see you got modded funny, but unless the joke comes from getting people to follow the link for no reason, I just don't know what you meant to link to.

      Do you mean the Google watermark on all their images, which shows up better on smooth water than on varied terrain?

      I tried zooming both in and out, but see nothing.
  • I just want them to fly over when the cherry blossoms are out.
  • by picob ( 1025968 ) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @11:42AM (#17789970)
    Intentionally Left Blank
  • Already done? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bigbutt ( 65939 ) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @11:48AM (#17790006) Homepage Journal
    Don't know if it's on Google's maps, but GeoEye has done it already. []

  • by Syde ( 1047152 ) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @11:55AM (#17790058)
    Its kind of hard to be calling it spamming when Google actually asked people to do this... If you think its stupid, then call google stupid, not the people that participated. ay2007/index.html []
  • In SL the map shows objects on the land. People used that to create pictures and ads visible on the map. For example: / [] [] / []

    These are usually made by using large colored blocks high in the air, so they can't be seen from the ground.
  • new spin on old news (Score:4, Informative)

    by thekm ( 622569 ) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @12:06PM (#17790114)
    Many companies have invested a lot of money/effort into putting signs on the rooftops of warehouses and large buildings. This is just that there's a "new" reason to put a sign on the roof, one that has companies without warehouses wanting to do it (like a .com). Sydney's a great example... take a train from western sydney into the city, and you'll pass a half dozen places with truly enormous signs on their rooftops. Arnotts is one of them.

    ...these signs have been around for many decades. My father (a signwriter) explained them to me on my very first trip into sydney as a kid. He actually made one for a tractor parts distributor that had a huge shed under a flight path (regaled me with how interesting it was to create such a big layout accurately). So, it's certainly not time now to be getting all bent out of shape because there's just one more reason to make signs for a higher viewpoint.

    When the pics finally make it up to google maps, you'll see all the signs that have preempted this article by probably more than my life time. Anyone mad about rooftops becoming big billboards... you'll need to find something actually "new" to whinge about :)
  • goatse (Score:5, Funny)

    by smoker2 ( 750216 ) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @12:10PM (#17790132) Homepage Journal
    see subject (if you're exceptionally unlucky ! )
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by BillX ( 307153 )
      Thanks for that. Now if I ever go to Google and they've added an "I'm feeling exceptionally unlucky!" button, I'm selling my modem and becoming a forest ranger.
  • by RealGrouchy ( 943109 ) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @12:11PM (#17790134)
    "Here be dragons!"

    - RG>
  • Look at the Palace of Versailles [] and you can see Mickey Mouse grinning out at you, if you squint hard enough.
  • The story []:
    All Points Blog tells us Google unexpectedly acquires data over Sydney [], for Australia Day 2007. From this other article []: "On Friday, an aircraft hired by Google will be doing a series of low-level swoops over parts of Sydney, photographing the ground and waters below. [...] "It's a bit of an experiment and if it's a success, we'll probably do it in other places [around the world]," Mr Rasmussen said, indicating that Google would work on organising similar flyovers in places like Paris
  • by gary gunrack ( 956165 ) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @12:24PM (#17790212) Homepage
    People (slashdotters?) left some really vitriolic comments on their blog. It would be a completely different situation of soulless corporations were making the ad. But this is just a geeky couple doing something creative that took alot of their time and energy, and was obviously done out of love, not greed.
  • Beam me up, Scotty! There's no intelligent life down here!
  • ...mentions the possibility of inexpensively turning the Moon into a billboard, by using rockets which scatters carbon black on the surface of the moon in patterns.

    It's only a matter of time.
  • "I, for one, welcome our Google Maps overlords!"
  • by smilinggoat ( 443212 ) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @01:26PM (#17790486) Homepage Journal
    So long, and thanks for all the fish.
  • "If you can read this, you're invading my privacy" -- Hey, I don't want my business in their servers "Copyright 2007" -- 'Cause then I can charge everytime someone views my part of the map "Google Map THIS ----" -- Insert your own image or funny phrase in the dashes Actually, I'd probably put up a gigantic mirror and hope its nice and sunny to eliminate my part of the city from terrorists trying to plan an attack via Google Earth. ... ACTUALLY I'd be asleep at 4 am (ok, going to bed) like a
  • Why do some people never learn that annoying the shit out of people isn't a good way to generate revenue?

    Yes, I know. Plenty of companies make a lot of money annoying the shit out of people. But dotcoms should know by now that in their market, they can't get away with that for long. It's simply too easy for customers to jump over to another product run by a company that respects its customers.

  • An obvious one... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by niktemadur ( 793971 ) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @02:18PM (#17790870)
    John 3:16

    Rest assured, if and when Google announces a flyby over a United States city, this one will rear its' obnoxious head.
  • Reactions (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NoahKing ( 785167 ) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @02:23PM (#17790898)
    Interesting to compare the response generated by this article to another where a group of open-source advocates built a crop circle [] in the shape of the firefox logo. As a community, our response to the giant firefox logo was overwhelmingly positive, while this article has had an overwhelmingly negative response. What makes this one spam, but the firefox advocacy a cool way to spend a weekend?
    • Was the Firefox logo timed to coincide with a Google Maps photography flyover? If not, that's the difference.
    • I think that people are offended at the thought of some corporate mob getting free advertising: but the site mentioned in this 'article' doesn't seem to have a business model - it's just a fun thing and informative.
      Also, an article in the Sydney Morning Herald [] (Australia's equivalent to the NY Times) said about these people:
      "Dressed in their wedding outfits, the couple were promoting a spoof dating website - - and a hobby travel mashup site,"

      If you go to [], i
  • what else?

    Maybe a giant goatse?
  • Why are people opposed to putting things on a roof? How is that any different from map makers placing symbols on conventional maps of things like a fork and a knife for a restaurant, or a bed for a hotel?
  • Google are asking people to get themselves noticed.
    Google Maps belong to google, htf can you complain about people spamming somebody else (i.e. google), after they've asked to be spammed.

    And putting all that aside for one moment, can't you just accept it might be 'fun' to get yourself on google earth?
    Bunch of miserable bastards the lot of you, if you don't want to see people waving at the camera on google maps, then just don't log into google maps. FFS.
    *bangs head on keyboard*
  • by rg3 ( 858575 )
    Something like...

    This sentence serves the purpose of disabling the lameness filter that would prevent me from posting the above message due to caps usage.
  • by Guzzitza ( 1000386 ) on Sunday January 28, 2007 @11:52PM (#17795268)

    Turns out that Google didnt think the plan through, with several portions of Sydney being deemed a no-fly zone on the day - in particular several parks and beaches such as Bondi Beach - where many people congregated to create large signs. One company even spent $10,000 on a sign, only to miss out!!

    See article here: dney-flyover/2007/01/29/1169919256978.html/ []

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan