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They aquired (sorry if that's not the right term for that) a new technology/service of world wide high-resolution imagery. No big news about the technology itself which can be extremely usefull.
One of the services they offer is to find restaurants, hotels, etc layered over the image (kinda high-tech RandMacnally map). You can imagine how powerfull this can be.
Pretty good stuff, thats sure, but also scares me a little bit along with their mission statement there:
"Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. Keyhole's technology and products are an excellent addition to our efforts to do that."
It sure makes me think...
At first I thought, "How does this make money?"
Image getting driving directions with keyhole. You would actually be able to drive the whole route on you computer before getting on the road. Plus, you would be able to spot gas stations, food places, rest areas, etc...
Wouldn't some people pay for that kind of service? I think, yes.
I watched a TV special on Area 51 (secret US Military Base) earlier this year and Keyhole was mentioned. Turns out, the person the show was documenting tried to use Keyhole to aquire high resolution images of Area 51 in order to see what goes on there.
The feds intercepted the images, at the guys house, from the delivery company, before the guy even got to look.
Big Brother now powered by Google? :-)
I also looked at the houses of people I knew. It was fun. When the trial membership ended, though, I didn't buy it. It was just too expensive to justify my sporatic use.
I remember their TOS forbid using it to shop for real estate. I guess that was because the pictures can be a few years old, and property can change.
Indicates Google's future concept of itself
I thought they already did that with the goal of Organizing The World's Information?
I think this gives some extra dimensions (no pun intended) to the word "organizing." Mind boggling... Can't wait to see how Google integrates this with all sorts of other information, from local search (which Brett mentioned somewhere, but I can't find his post), to other geographical and historical queries.
I can imagine the 3D image stitching might eventually include, eg, a time dimension, historical data and 3D modeling of ancient cities, demographic and cultural overlays, what have you. It's a real mind opener.