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Google Australian Flyover Hits Snags

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Google had announced that it would be flying over parts of Australia on Australia Day, last week Friday, in order to take photos for Google Earth and Google Maps (Microsoft was doing it, too). Australians were excites, with people planning to build giant signs and write words on the ground, or just wave at the sky, in order to live on for a while in Google’s maps of the country.

Now, reports are coming in that things didn’t go as well as planned.

One guy had hoped Google’s flyover would help him convince his wife to come back to him. She had moved out a few weeks ago after their marriage fell apart, and he figured she’d see his giant message of love in Google and come running back, but it was not meant to be.

Google’s plans fell apart due to no-fly zone restrictions due to air safety on low-flying planes. Google’s plane was too low for the government, which did not let it fly over Sydney, although some of the other areas were photographed. Microsoft’s plane was fine, since its photographic equipment allowed it to fly higher, but many who had planned to be seen by Google were out of luck.

Among those missing out on the photo opportunity of a lifetime was a company that had spent $10,000-plus on a sign, an environmental group which organised 200 supporters to form themselves into a slogan on Bondi Beach and a man who drove from Wollongong to Sydney with a message that he hoped would help win back his estranged wife.

Among those missing out on the photo opportunity of a lifetime was Sydney software consultant Adam Cogan.

He had spent $10,000 on a 50-metre sign featuring his company’s logo and website address and had organised 30 of his employees to come along to Queens Park in Waverley on Friday morning and help assemble the installation.

Google advised those at Queens Park to be ready around 8.45am-9.15am. Mr Cogan waited at Queens Park for the flyover until about 4.30pm before giving up.

“Google have over-promised and under-delivered,” Mr Cogan said. “They should have sorted this out before creating the expectation.”

Bonus items:

Google has sued copyright moron Leo Stoller, who trademarks words and then sues those who use them (words like “Stealth”, “Ambush” and “Annihilator”). Stoller had tried to lay claim to the word “Google”, and Google finally sued his ass to make him pay for dragging them through years of frivolous litigation.

Google is asking college students to create 3D representations of their university campuses and upload them to Google Earth and SketchUp’s 3D Warehouse, with the best ones getting a free trip to Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California. The judges are from companies like Apple and Electronic Arts, and I’d assume the winner would have a good shot at a job at Google. Let’s just hope the college students aren’t running Windows Vista, since SketchUp still won’t run on Microsoft’s new OS.

Google has topped Brand Channel’s list of the top brand worldwide of 2006, by impact, beating out Apple. Third place belongs to Google’s YouTube, too, giving Google a cool hold on the top of the list. Their list of top brands in North America, though, puts Apple at #1, with Google dropping to third, and YouTube in second.

Somebody runs a goof video blog on YouTube called Inifinite Solutions, a pitch-perfect spoof of self-help shows, complete with public access graphics and a host that just lies to you. Their latest episode revealed how to get into the new beta of “Google TV”, which doesn’t exist. Judging by comments on several blogs and Digg, there were a lot of people logging in and out of their Gmail accounts in a desperate attempt to get an invite to a service that doesn’t exist.

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Nathan Weinberg writes the popular InsideGoogle blog, offering the latest news and insights about Google and search engines.

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