artefaqs - 3:20 pm on Oct 30, 2011 (gmt 0)
What other company would have had the audacity to photograph every single street in North America.
Lots of companies. I've seen at least two photographing my city in camera cars in the last couple of years. I looked one up, and it's out of Boston.
More importantly, lots of companies have been systematically photographing the streets and houses of America for decades, and maintain libraries of the content. At least since the 1950's, and probably before. Back then it was on film, but the negatives and the slides still exist. Man, I bet that was an industry that was happy to transition to digital.
The only thing that Google did that counts as innovation is make its pictures available to the public. The companies that did it before Google sold the pictures to local governments, and the real estate and insurance industries. Especially the insurance industry. If your house burned down, the insurance company would pull out its latest photo of your property to help determine the value of the home.
It all goes back to what people have been saying for years -- nothing is new. Just because it's digital or on the internet doesn't mean it's an invention.