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Australia Hearts Google

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Finally Microsoft gets to snicker at Google a little. Both companies planned Sydney flyovers for Australia Day to snag aerial snapshots of Australians doing Australian things. But due to a miscommunication between Google and Sydney air traffic controllers, the search company ended up a bit late to the prom.

Both companies planned the flyovers on the national holiday and promoted their arrival by inviting Sydney residents to have their photos taken. Microsoft’s “Look Up and Smile” campaign, intended to promote Live Local and Windows Vista was launched from about 8000 feet.

Google had a similar plan to incorporate the photos into Google Earth and Google Maps. But they were going to do Microsoft one better by flying in at just under 2000 feet. That was news to air traffic control, who told the pilot of the chartered plane that flying at that altitude at that time of day was a no go, a no fly.

That was also news to droves of disappointed hams hoping to get their mugs onto Google Earth. For a Sydney-based software consultant, who was at Queens Park at 8:45 am sharp with his unrolled half-a-football-field-sized company sign, Google’s oversight cost him $10,000. He waited until 4:30 pm before packing up.

But $10,000 is chump change compared to what it cost one Aaron Schwebel, who paid for Google’s mistake in heartbreak. Schwebel, whose wife had left him, was hoping a grander version of an ancient ritual would win her back. Initials and hearts carved in trees? How about AKS Hearts KDS’ on Google Earth?

Eh, well, maybe she’ll settle for a promise to take out the trash more often.


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