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It's an extension of our broader search strategy that extends local search into a deeply immersive search experience,
Imagine searching your name, and getting a satellite image of your own home it in the results!
see the full article [publications.mediapost.com]
MSN trumps google on providing topo maps that line up perfectly with the satellite imagery, and actually have a legend.
Is there business model to fuel the developing 'map wars'? But I guess with MSFT and Google, that might not matter...
I tend to agree with John Battelle's comments in the article. These are, and will contiue to be, 'cool' applications - but how much value do they add to the searcher's 'click decision' in a local search environment
An unbelievable amount. Local activities usually deal with real-estate, or physical location.
The fact that I can see the neighborhood (however old it is), the topographic map, a train track, bridges and rivers in real life can and are huge decision makers.
If you are looking for a house, and it is described that in an idylic environment, and the regular map shows just that, BUT your topo map and sat. pics show that there is a huge oil refinery up stream to the "idylic" location - whould that sway you?
How about if you are trying to locate a store, and need some visual references? A big bridge will be displayed the same way as a tiny wood bridge on a regular map. Yet, on the sat. pic. you will notice the difference and make alternate routes.
Just some examples...
big brother is watching
It is a very scary thought, but Big Brother is well and truly on top of us. Correct me if I am wrong, but 2 minutes investigating in this brave new world suggests:
Mickeypart is possibly fluent in French
Tapolyai is from Kiribati (wherever that is)
Bostonbeans likes Southpark
And that was just me, this thread and 2 minutes on Google. Imagine just how much a person can already get under your skin even without seeing your house. But knowing the house you live in as well is just one more nail in the coffin of Freedom - but ironically it is that very freedom that has led to the ability to know a complete stranger in minutes.
Liberties aside, I think it is just incredible that the technology of satallite imaging right down to seeing your house is more or less available to all and sundry. How many billions were spent getting those satellites up there? and then the images are free. Some fantasticly hopeful business models there!
How many billions were spent getting those satellites up there? and then the images are free. Some fantasticly hopeful business models there!
Not entirely - it was mostly your tax dollars that were spent, and the images you see for free I bet are a far cry from what military gets. So yes, you already paid for them , 100-fold.
But that is beside the point. MSN hasn't done this for military reasons (presumably) and I am guessing it is at its own cost? Or are they using military hardware for this?
actually, you paid for them
:) no I didn't either, but that is also besides the point.
I don't know much about satellites, but I can assure you that most of that is old military hardware. I am sure folks here will correct me on that. At one point RAND published reports about "Commercial Observational Satellites"... GPS is also paid-for by the government - or by US taxpayers.
Actually, on Terraserver site it says images supplied by US Geological survey - usgs.gov, which is obviously US government.
Receptional, you disappoint me. Everyone knows where Kiribati is.... don't you?!
I do now, thanks to one of the cooler than Google features of MSN. Type "Where is Kiribati" in MSN and you get:
Kiribati: location: Kiribati is located in the central Pacific Ocean, about 4,000 km (about 2,500 mi) southwest of Hawaii.
Now... Type it into Google and you get:
CIA - The World Factbook -- Kiribati
Overview and data about Kiribati's geography, people, government, economy,military, and communications...
Since we are on the subject of whether satellite pictures of your house is Big Brother like, I think that's a freaky coincidence!
freaking microsoft. Sees one doing it and if people like it, they jump in too
You're thinking of Google - search, mail, satellite images, driving directions, banner ads, desktop search. At least Microsoft invented... oh wait, cancel that.
Anyway, Terraserver has been out there forever and AFAIK, MS has always had the best implementation of this - give credit where credit is due. There is nothing like it for researching hiking and mountaineering destinations.
Apologies in advance for the rant that follows, but some people are acting like freely available satellite pictures are a BAD thing. They are a GOOD thing, and pretty much without reservation.
big brother is watching
Yes, BB is watching - they are monitoring every phone conversation to/from United States, they have observation cameras all over Britain, and they know what you spent this morning with your credit card. Can someone explain to me what this has to do with 10 year old satellite images? Your credit card and your cell phone are much bigger threats to your privacy than old satellite photos or new. Of course, I faked them out - no cell phone.
As Receptional pointed out, the other big (and by far the biggest) threat to your privacy is the information you give out freely. I'm not privacy nut, but, for example, I refuse to use one of those supermarket "member" cards that give you discounts at a lot of US supermarkets. They are buying your privacy for 20 cents off on a can of peas and people line up 10 deep to let them do it.
Who knows what the classified satellites are capable of, but if you fear it, move to Britain or Seattle or someplace really cloudy and you'll be safe from observation. I actually think the biggest threat that these satellites pose is in comments like yours. Big Brother functions because people *believe* BB is watching, regardless of whether he is. I know it was an offhand comment, but vague uninvestigated fear is the basis of totalitarianism. Fear and act upon known dangers. Investigate unknown dangers. Don't spread FUD.
During the first Gulf War, the military sort of leaked that they had imaging accurate enough to tell what books Iraqis soldieurs were reading . I actually think that this is BS (i.e. we now know they hardly had anybody who could read Arabic, so we can take this claim as a bald-faced lie that they could tell what books they were reading, except for the unexplained popularity of Dianetics among Iraqi foot soldiers at the time)... right, I think it's BS designed to make you (and any Iraqis listening) fearful. Just in case, though, I started reading my terrorist manuals and child porn indoors after that.
I do, however, happen to believe that there is a cabal of people spreading unsubstantiated conspiracy theories to keep us all scared and obedient. For those who aren't paying attention, that sentence is self-referential, like "ergophobe is a liar", which he is.
Anyway, getting back to our feature presentation....
1. It's not like you call up an address and Microsoft goes and points their satellite there so you can get a peak! The picture for my house shows a barely recognizeable blob and is dated 8/1/99, which is to say those are the former resident's pot plantations. I think there's a guy on the porch reading Mao's little red book though.
2. This stuff has all been publicly available for free or cheap a long time. It is one of the missions of the USGS within the United States to provide accurate maps to the American public as cheaply as possible and the aerial photos and satellite pictures are just a by-product of this. We've been spending money on them since 1879, and now the PEOPLE are being given access. This is a step in the RIGHT direction, not a growing ominous presence of Big Brother (btw, remember that BB is based on Stalin who had a policy of not providing accurate maps to people so that they couldn't find anything, that's how BB works).
but I can assure you that most of that is old military hardware
The Landsat program is the longest running enterprise for acqusition of imagery of Earth from space. The first Landsat satellite was launched in 1972; the most recent, Landsat 7, was launched on April 15, 1999. The instruments on the Landsat satellites have acquired millions of images. The images, archived in the United States and at Landsat receiving stations around the world, are a unique resource for global change research and applications in agriculture, geology, forestry, regional planning, education and national security.
but I can assure you that most of that is old military hardware. I am sure folks here will correct me on that.
ergophobe: I can assure you that it is not. Most publicly available photos are from the Landsat Program
ergophobe, you missed the second part of my statement. I didn't know about Landsat program, so I indeed stand corrected on that.
During the first Gulf War, the military sort of leaked that they had imaging accurate enough to tell what books Iraqis soldieurs were reading . I actually think that this is BS
if you phish around on the internet, there are a few military reports freely available that mention what in 1990th US militarty considered a threat to national security - and it was mentioned that images that could detect objects less than one meter (roughly 3 feet). Intelligent quess would be that if they considered this a threat, the threat actually existed. Since then, simple consumer digital camera improved their resolutions 10-fold. But yes, I agree, noone is about to use multi-billion dollar equipment to make sure you are not reading Mao.