Google Tries To Protect APEC?

    August 14, 2007

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation will meet in Australia’s largest city in about three weeks’ time, but if you seek Google’s help to look at Sydney, you may be out of luck – Google Maps images of the area have become rather fuzzy.

“Censorship!  Conspiracy!  Google’s gone evil!” is the cry that’s been taken up by some.  Others have suggested that Google is just trying to keep 21 world leaders from getting blown up.  And according to Rob Shilkin, a spokesman for Google Australia, they’re all wrong; the poor image quality is the result of a business arrangement gone bad.

“This has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with APEC,” Shilkin told The Sydney Morning Herald.  “We’re re-sourcing our imagery for parts of Sydney as a result of a commercial issue with one of our suppliers, so some of the highest-res images have been temporarily replaced.”

And as fun as a conspiracy theory would be, Shilkin’s explanation seems quite possible.  After all, Google did about the best it could with a map of Washington, D.C. when restrictions were put in place there.

Also, we have yet to see how long the “fuzziness” over Google Maps’s representation of Sydney will last – this could all be resolved well before the APEC summit.