View Full Version : Google unveils satellite map feature

04-07-2005, 11:16 PM

SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) -- Online search engine leader Google Inc. has unveiled a new feature that will enable its users to zoom in on homes and businesses using satellite images, an advance that may raise privacy concerns as well as intensify the competitive pressures on its rivals.

The satellite technology, which Google began offering late Monday at http://local.google.com/maps link, is part of the package that the Mountain View-based company acquired when it bought digital map maker Keyhole Corp. for an undisclosed amount nearly six months ago.

This marks the first time since the deal closed that Google has offered free access to Keyhole's high-tech maps through its search engine. Users previously had to pay $29.95 to download a version of Keyhole's basic software package.

A more traditional map will continue to be the first choice served up by Google's search engine. Users will have the option of retrieving a satellite picture by clicking on a button.

The satellite maps could unnerve some people, even as the technology impresses others. That's because the Keyhole technology is designed to provide close-up perspective of specific addresses.

Keyhole's previous government ties also have raised anxieties.

Founded in 2001, Keyhole raised some money in 2003 from In-Q-Tel, a venture capital firm backed by the Central Intelligence Agency. Leading up to the Google sale, Keyhole's roughly 10,000 customers included a cross-section of government agencies.

There is little reason for people to be paranoid about the satellite maps because the images generally are six to 12 months old, said John Hanke, Keyhole's general manager. "And it's not like you are going to be able to read a license plate on a car or see what an individual was doing when a particular image was taken," he said.

Google believes most people will like the convenience of generating a satellite image with a few clicks of a computer mouse. The company envisions people using the service as a way to scout a hotel's proximity to the beach for a possible vacation or size up the neighborhood where an apartment is for rent.

Google's free satellite maps initially will be limited to North America, with images covering roughly half the United States, Hanke said.

Although Google is offering the satellite maps on a test basis, the feature will probably force its other online rivals to upgrade their technology, predicted search industry analyst Greg Sterling of the Kelsey Group. "To play in this space, you are going to need some robust mapping capabilities."

Sterling said Google's satellite maps pose the biggest threat to Mapquest, a service owned by Time Warner Corp. that has long operated the most popular Web site for finding directions.

The satellite maps also up the ante for the many challengers chipping away at Google's share of the lucrative Internet search engine market by adding more bells and whistles. For instance, Amazon.com Inc.'s A9 search engine earlier this year introduced a feature that includes an index containing 20 million street-level photographs of building exteriors in 10 major U.S. cities.
Has anybody tried this new google feature yet? It's pretty cool. You could literaly see any place in the US or Canada. I envy those rich people who own google. Try finding your house.

04-07-2005, 11:25 PM
It only works with the U.S. and Canada... oh well...

04-07-2005, 11:26 PM
oh, I didn't notice that. I guess only Americans are in luck. Lets see if I could find area 51.

04-07-2005, 11:38 PM
Google is a publicly traded company. You can own it too with the purchase of stocks.

The satelite doesn't give me enough zoom. Meh.

04-07-2005, 11:46 PM
My house is somwhere within the red circle. (excuse the IE)


04-07-2005, 11:51 PM
My house is somewhere inside this block

04-07-2005, 11:53 PM
You could literaly see any place in the US or Canada.

psh, you can't get pictures over some (most?) military bases.

04-08-2005, 01:10 AM
Very cool, I like it.

But I can't zoom very much to the places where I live... can only see the basic street layout, can't make out houses or anything.

I guess that means I'm safer from spies?

04-08-2005, 01:39 AM
No, defence sats can read newspaper print off your newspaper at sea level.

Also what's the deal over privacy? Flight sims have been using detailed satellite imagary for years. Also it's static, not dynamic so no need for privacy concerns.

The Talking Pie
04-08-2005, 06:45 AM
Pfft, this isn't worth wasting the effort on. I want real-time satellite pictures damnit. And I want them worldwide. They could make a killing with streaming birds-eye coverage of The Pope's funeral.

04-08-2005, 07:09 AM
This is where I lived back in the states.


Ah Eugene Oregon. The Pearl of the People's Democracy of Oregon (part of the People's Republic of Cascadia)

04-08-2005, 08:21 AM
Pfft, this isn't worth wasting the effort on. I want real-time satellite pictures damnit. And I want them worldwide. They could make a killing with streaming birds-eye coverage of The Pope's funeral.

Fuck the Pope (litteraly if the name implies myself), I just wanna be able to zoom down on my house when I have someone knocking on the door before I decide to get up and get it. Sure, I could just easily install surveillance cameras but where's the fun in that?

04-08-2005, 08:30 AM
i want that to that would be cool but more than likely slow as hell

04-15-2005, 01:58 PM
Speaking of Area 51.


The Talking Pie
04-15-2005, 04:50 PM
Haven't there been satellite mapping pictures of Groom Lake on the internet for a while? I seem to recall a Russian company/site doing it a few years ago...

04-15-2005, 04:58 PM
How do you get the actual photos?

04-15-2005, 05:03 PM
the google ones i higher res, i think...

plus that guy's a tard, those green circle are just farm thingies. they water them in circles for various reasons, you can spot them all up the state, not just in the NTR.

04-15-2005, 05:06 PM
How do you take screenshots?

04-15-2005, 05:14 PM
PrtScn button

04-15-2005, 05:16 PM
usually with the 'print screen' button... google maps shouldn't be in a hardware layer.

04-15-2005, 05:20 PM
Where is that button...

The Talking Pie
04-15-2005, 05:30 PM
usually with the 'print screen' button... google maps shouldn't be in a hardware layer.
That's what they done with that other site I mentioned before (which I remembered as the apparantly now-defunct TerraServer). I swear they done it simply to annoy the users though, to make them crave pictures of Area-51 even more, which of course would generate more hits for their site.

04-15-2005, 05:41 PM
ah, let me think for a bit and i'll get back to you.

04-15-2005, 06:11 PM
Sweet, I found my house!


04-16-2005, 12:38 PM

Save the image and make it bigger.

04-16-2005, 12:51 PM
heres my house, well car


04-16-2005, 05:34 PM
Very ... interesting.