Google Shuts Down Google Wallpapers
Google has shut down (via takedown notice) a website, Google Wallpapers, that allowed users to very easily create saveable images of Google Maps. Google’s next move is to sue the makers of the “Print Screen” key, which does the same damn thing with extra steps.
But seriously (yes, that last part was a non-serious humorous statement), Google did send this to the guys behind Gmerge.2ni.net:
The Google Maps team recently noticed your Google Maps tile “stitcher” wallpaper maker at http://gmerge.2ni.net/. Google is always happy to see developers interested in our products and we commend you on the service. That said, we would appreciate it if you voluntarily remove your service and stop using Google Maps on your web site. The service violates the Maps Terms of Service available at http://www.google.com/help/terms_local.html, and jeopardizes our ability to make Google Maps available to the public because it encourages non-personal use of Google Maps.
If you have any questions or concerns, or if we have contacted the wrong people, please feel free to contact me directly. Otherwise, please let us know as soon as possible when the service has been removed.
Product Manager, Google Maps
Perhaps I’m not understanding what this website did. How did it encourage “non-personal use”? Seems to me it has very few applications except posting images of your house from space online and printing out those images, both of which serve little purposes except to (1) promote Google Maps and (2) annoy your coworkers. As Slashdot points out, plenty of sites use Google Maps while violating the terms of service, but none have received takedowns.
I’ve got a fun homework assignment: put together a Google Maps hack that shows the location of every whorehouse in Las Vegas (or, if you’re really ambitious, all strip joints in the U.S.), and we’ll see if Google lets that stay up.
The O’Reilly blog has a fun fact: everyone involved, from the man who wrote the letter (Bret Taylor) to the guys behind Google Wallpapers will be at the upcoming Where 2.0 conference. Showdown? Nah, not likely.
Visit the InsideGoogle blog.