Google Earth Under Microscope

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Trying to distance yourself from suggestions that you are too powerful, or becoming more like Microsoft, is hard to do when a U.S. House Subcommittee sends you a letter claiming you’re attempting to “airbrush history.”

That’s exactly the kind of attention Google would have preferred to have avoided, when it recently came to light that Google Earth had switched back to images of New Orleans, pre-Katrina.

…Google is expected to officially respond to the U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology’s subcommittee regarding its reasoning behind the imagery alterations following a concerned letter sent to Google CEO Eric Schmidt from the subcommittee chairman, Rep. Brad Miller. Miller’s communiqué to Schmidt suggested that Google’s outdated imagery was “doing the victims of Hurricane Katrina a great injustice by airbrushing history.”

Google maintains it had no intention of trying to change history and is somewhat perplexed by the controversy.

A somewhat puzzled Google has revealed that it wasn’t its intention to alter historic record, and that the older, pre-Katrina aerial photographs, which were posted in September of 2006, were merely applied to introduce “much higher resolution as part of a regular series of global data enhancements.”…“Given that the changes that affected New Orleans happened many months ago, we were a bit surprised by some of these recent comments,” said John Hanke, director for Google Earth and Maps on Google’s official blog on Monday. “Make no mistake, this wasn’t any effort on our part to rewrite history.”

Google has entered a new era in its short life – the public perception of its power is far greater than its own.


Google Earth Under Microscope
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