Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Google feature incorporates satellite maps

Filed under
Web
Sci/Tech

Online search engine leader Google 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://maps.google.com, 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.

Source.

More in Tux Machines

GNOME Software 3.22 Will Support Installation of Snaps, Flatpak Repository Files

The GNOME 3.21.4 desktop environment was released last week, which means that many of the default applications and components were updated with bug fixes and various enhancements. Read more

openSUSE Leap 42.2 Now Merged with SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 Service Pack 2

The development cycle of the openSUSE Leap 42.2 operating system continues, and today we would like to inform our readers about the availability of the third and last Alpha build in the series. Read more

Linux 4.7 and Linux 4.8

  • Linux Kernel 4.7 Officially Released, Introduces Support for Radeon RX480 GPUs
    Today, July 24, 2016, after a week of holiday fun, Linus Torvalds has had the great pleasure of announcing the release of Linux kernel 4.7 for all GNU/Linux operating systems. The Linux 4.7 kernel has been in development for the past two months, but that shouldn't surprise anyone who is either reading our website on a regular basis or keeping pace with the Linux kernel development cycle, which was very normal for this branch. A total of seven Release Candidate (RC) testing builds were released since May 29, 2016, which introduced numerous new features and improvements.
  • The Biggest Features Of The Linux 4.7 Kernel
    If all goes according to plan, the Linux 4.7 kernel will be released before the day is through.
  • The Size Of Different DRM Graphics Drivers In Linux 4.7
    Last October I looked at The Size Of The Different Open-Source Linux DRM/Mesa Graphics Drivers, but with it being nearly one year since then and Linux 4.7 due out today, I decided to run some fresh L.O.C. measurements on the popular DRM/KMS drivers to see their current sizes. This lines-of-code counting was mostly done out of a curiosity factor. In this article I'm just looking at the in-kernel DRM code and not the Mesa drivers, DDX drivers, LLVM back-ends, or anything else in user-space related to the open-source graphics drivers.
  • The Btrfs Windows Driver Updated With RAID Support & Other Features
  • Hardened Usercopy Appears Ready To Be Merged For Linux 4.8
    Yet another Linux kernel security feature coming to the mainline kernel that appears readied for the Linux 4.8 merge window is hardened usercopy. Hardened usercopy was originally based upon GrSecurity's PAX_USERCOPY feature but reworked into a whole new form, according to developer Kees Cook at Google. This hardened usercopy is to be exposed as the CONFIG_HARDENED_USERCOPY option within the kernel.

Ubuntu MATE 16.04.1 LTS Fixes the Raspberry Pi Partition Resizer, Adds MATE 1.14

As part of the Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS (Xenial Xerus) announcement, Martin Wimpress informs us about the release of the Ubuntu MATE 16.04.1 LTS operating systems for users of Ubuntu MATE 16.04 LTS. Ubuntu MATE 16.04.1 LTS is not a major release, and if your Ubuntu MATE 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) installation is up to date, you already have the latest software updates and security patches that have been injected in the new installation mediums generated mainly for those who want to reinstall or deploy the OS on new systems. Read more