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.
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Roger Mills wrote:

The BBC seem to be reporting it as though they actively set out to capture passwords, emails etc.

Indeed.

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 ...
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they were saying:

Unlikely...
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...
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On 25/10/2010 12:45, Adrian wrote:

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!!
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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.
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Tim

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like they were saying:

AdBlock Plus is your friend.
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On Mon, 25 Oct 2010 23:23:56 +0100, Tim Streater put finger to keyboard and typed:

You are slightly unusual in this respect, and - fortunately for Google, the website operators and their advertisers - most people are not like you.
Mark
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Mark Goodge wrote:

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.
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On Tue, 26 Oct 2010 08:28:52 +0100, David Woolley put finger to keyboard and typed:

Possibly counter-intuitively, text adverts generally work better (for both advertisers and publishers) than the intrusive ones.

Google already does graphical advertising. If you run Adsense on a website, you can opt in or out of displaying them.
Mark
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That's as may be. I don't go to web sites to look at ads, that's the point.
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Tim

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On 25/10/2010 23:23, Tim Streater wrote:

I was driving the PC one day with my (luddite) wife looking over my shoulder, and she was saying to me "There it is! Click there! It's big enough! Can't you see it?"
Just for once the big flashing thing was _not_ an irrelevant advert, but a graphic link to where we wanted. But as it was big and flashing I had tuned it out as an advert, and just couldn't see it.
Andy
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Quite. It's too big.
There's a similar problem with paper magazines, where they're making the content, especially the first page of a multi-page article, look (to me) like an advert. So I'm flicking through the pages in skip-the-crap mode and I find myself in the middle of an article I hadn't realise had started.
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Mike Barnes

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gurgled happily, sounding much like

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..
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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.
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Why do you find it odd?
MBQ
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wrote:

I suppose if I were to calculate the odds of seeing one, it wouldn't be so surprising. But I haven't, and it is.
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wrote:

I have seen two, different drivers.
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gurgled happily, sounding much like

In that case.... You're Prince "Lobby Lud" Harry and I claim my fiver.
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On 25/10/10 12:08, Roger Mills wrote:

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.
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On 25/10/2010 13:56, Jim wrote:

The numbers are stunning. Look at:
http://investor.google.com/financial/tables.html
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......................
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