Somewhat OT: Google Street View

Google Street View seems to be in the news again over allegations that
they have gathered lots of personal data from unsecured WiFi systems.
If nothing else, it might provide a wake-up call to encourage people to
secure their systems!
Can anyone throw any light on Google's business model for doing all
this? The cost of driving their camera-equipped cars along every road on
the planet[1] must be colossal. Presumably this must somehow generate a
commensurate amount of revenue - but I struggle to understand how.
[1] Well, the western world, at any rate - they don't appear to have
done much in Russia or China! But I was amazed to find that Street View
covers a rural area in NSW (Australia) which I shall soon be visiting.
Some relatives of mine live right out in the sticks, and a rural road
within about 2 Km of their property (which probably only carries a
handful of vehicles per day) can be seen on Street View.
Reply to
Roger Mills
The BBC seem to be reporting it as though they actively set out to capture passwords, emails etc.
Once they have the WiFi database, it's useful to them providing geolocation services to Android based smartphones (e.g. if you can see access points with SSIDs X,Y and Z and MAC addresses A,B & C you're with 100m of the GPS location the car stored when it was there)
Also they can integrate the captured photos with their satnav software, so it competes with TomTom etc.
And they sell adverts that sit on top of google map results.
I suspect they take the long view on the costs and see what benefits they can extract by having it ...
Reply to
Andy Burns
Roger Mills gurgled happily, sounding much like they were saying:
To be fair, though, there do appear to be a lot fewer unsecured access points these days - pretty much only the BT back-door networks, and they all require a login anyway.
Simple. StreetView drives a load of traffic to Google's site. As a result, they can attract more advertisers and charge more for advertising - even before you consider the location-specific advertising on maps & streetview.
They haven't done my road, in the middle of town, less than a mile from the M25 and about 250m from the station...
Reply to
Out of the two major map data suppliers, Navteq is owned by Nokia, Teleatlas by TomTom.
As such, by gathering their own data about the road network it allows them to offer map and navigation services without paying licensing fees to their competitors.
Most of their revenue comes from selling advertising alongside free services, of course.
Reply to
The numbers are stunning. Look at:
formatting link
in 2009:
revenue 23.6 Gigadollars
costs and expenses 15.3 Gigadollars
so operational income 8.3 Gigadollars = 35% of revenue!
Wish I could do that......................
Reply to
I'm finding it really useful because I can 'look' at some jobs without going there in many instances. People are particularly bad at describing things over the phone, but I can see their house in a matter of seconds.
Reply to
The Medway Handyman
Bear in mind that the images may be a couple of years or so old, so the house may not still look *exactly* as shown on StreetView. [My house still shows a garage door, which was bricked up and replaced with a window well over a year ago].
It's jolly useful for visualising parts of a route though. I've been using it a lot for looking at places in Australia where I'm going to be driving in a few weeks time.
But be warned - it uses a *lot* of bandwidth. I've already exceeded my quota for this month, and I don't usually get anywhere near it.
Reply to
Roger Mills
The street view or the data snooping? The former was apparently not intentional and slipped in on engineers 20% time allocation[1].
Advertising basically (also a strong element of "because they can"). They sell it. Lots of it. On one Dragon's Den program ISTR one of them advising a prospect that their ad budget was way to small - and they should be thinking about £1.6M for their ad-words campaign alone!
[1] Google has a policy of allowing engineers to develop projects of their own choosing using 10 - 20% of the work time. Many of the more interesting and innovative "hack value" projects have come about because of this and ended up as services that can trialed on the beta/labs programs.
Reply to
John Rumm
In article , Roger Mills writes
And it can tell you that you are outside number 20 when you are several houses away. If you can't read the house numbers, you may have a problem getting the right one.
Reply to
Adrian Simpson
Quite amused by the shot of the front of my nephew's house. If you go one frame along his car turns round. Then if you look at the trees in the park all the leaves fall off (or on!). It appears that adjacent shots were taken at least 4 months apart. Can't work out why the car drove into a cul-de-sac and turned around, only to come back months later and do the rest.
Reply to
Andy Champ
Does Google carry adverts? Can't say I've ever noticed, sorry!
Nor mine. We live in a 'clump' of four houses about a mile away from any other houses in either direction. From the west the Street View goes along the 'empty' county lane till about 300 yards before our house, then it stops!!
Reply to
In article , J B wrote:
I think this sums up my basic puzzlement at the notion of having ads on a website. I tune them out completely, and if I can't do that it's likely to be my last visit to that site.
Reply to
Tim Streater
Done three of those now, plus fitting the sink plug to the chain, installing self adhesive draught strip & changing several lamps in PIR lights!
Its a tough job, but someone has to do it :-)
Reply to
The Medway Handyman
Nor my road, which is a cul-de-sac. When I looked at the view from the road at the other end, I could see why: there was a garbage truck blocking the entrance, and they didn't bother to wait until it'd gone.
Actually, considering they have done just about every other road in the country, it's odd that I've never seen one of their vehicles..
Reply to
"BartC" gurgled happily, sounding much like they were saying:
I have. We waved to the one that passed the office - you can just about make out a colleague in the window - and I followed one down the only stretch of A413 not to be on StreetView yet...
I think it's personal.
Reply to
Tim Streater gurgled happily, sounding much like they were saying:
AdBlock Plus is your friend.
Reply to
On Mon, 25 Oct 2010 23:23:56 +0100, Tim Streater put finger to keyboard and
You are slightly unusual in this respect, and - fortunately for Google, the website operators and their advertisers - most people are not like you.
Reply to
Mark Goodge
Actually, acquired advert blindness is a major problem for web site advertising and why things like popups, pop-unders, flashing, adverts that obscure the page until you acknowledge them, etc., were developed.
Google have been unusual in that they have insisted on text only adverts, which may actually improve the chances of them being read. (On the other hand, recent advertising, by Google, on the London underground railway systems, hints that they may be about to launch limited graphical advertising.
Reply to
David Woolley

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