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back to article Google gets all Minority Report with Street View

Yes, Google is exploring the possibility of slipping ads into Street View, its virtual reality project that seeks to photograph the world and recreate it online. According to Cnet, a Google presentation recently delivered to European marketing and ad agencies at least hints at a future where Street View does ads, virtually …

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Anonymous Coward

This is horrible

Really horrible. Horrible in a way which makes me feel like I've vomited into a flip-flop which has been picked up, by a previously unseen stalker dressed in Google's colours, and used to slap me soundly and repeatedly in the mouth while he tells me how good it should feel. Flip-flops are comfortable! I should want more! Have it anyway, you'll get used to it! And as I consider how much of my life I've given to Google, because they always make me feel comfortable, with their funny sketches and their doing no evil, I wearily nod my vomit-spattered face and accept it as progress.

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No title, this is a reply, dammit!

Flip-flops are awful (IMHO), but you gotta respect the visuals. Great graphic posting, hehe. Here, I'll pass you a towel...

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Big Brother

Ministry of Truth

One gets the feeling that Google's "Do no evil" is rapidly becoming a rather poor joke. Indeed, as Google insinuate themselves into every part of life that they can, it has probably already past the point where it has much the same role as the "Ministry of Truth" had in 1984.

I rathger suspect that we will mark 2010 as the year that Google overtly changed from the nice set of neat services created by a bunch of well meaning geeks into the next incarnation of the evil empire. It has been brewing for some time, but this year will probably see many things come to fruition.

Constantly referring to them as the Chocolate Factory doesn't help either. That preserves the aura of geekyness and warm fuzzy ideals, and even a slightl level of incompetance. Face it, that image has past its use by date. The nice friendly colours of the logo, whimsical name, and projected image of cool technology covers up a publicly listed company whose only goal is to make as much money as possible for its shareholders. And they realised a long time ago that the best way to do this is to own everyone's soul.

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Google hate

"covers up a publicly listed company whose only goal is to make as much money as possible for its shareholders."

Zomg a company that exists to make money!

Yes, ads on street view are annoying. Yes it explains why they went to the expense of setting it all up. But evil? Because they serve ads to finance their free service? Hell, these ads could be *useful*.

Getting quite sick of the Google hate on El Reg

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titular agrandisement

"Constantly referring to them as the Chocolate Factory doesn't help either. That preserves the aura of geekyness and warm fuzzy ideals, and even a slightl level of incompetance."

Have you actually read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? It is a dark story about human greed, not about warm and fuzzy ideals. Kinda sounds like Google to me.....

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Happy

Choco factory

When I think of the chocolate factory, I think of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Zail7Gdqro

Strange, Charlie, but it's fun!

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WTF?

titular admonishment

So if you owned a small shop, you would be happy for google to place adverts for your competitors all over your shop front in street view?

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FAIL

"Useful" ads?! Oxymoron.

Think about it. When you watch TV, most of each hour is ads day in, day out. How many are "useful" to YOU? Even THEORETICALLY?

Even the ads for stuff that's useful to me are a waste of my time because if it's useful, I've already got it! So 99.999% of the ad time that hits me is a pure waste of my time and that of the advertiser.

Indeed, when I get hit with ads for ANY gender-specific product (tampons, makeup), there's a 50% chance it's no use to me and it's guaranteed to be no use to about 50% of the viewers 100% of the time.

So, I suppose targetted ads solve that issue, but so does NO ADs! Because frankly, even if they remove the the ads that are DEFINITELY NEVER of any use to me, then even if that doubled, tripled, quadrulped, hell increased the number that were applicable by 10x, then still far greater than 99% would be a waste of my time.

Ads are spam. Even the 'targetted' ads are almost never of any interest. So ads might be useful?

Well, technially yes, but in 1 in 1000 cases. So for every 30sec that's of use, they stole 500 hours of your life. Three weeks. And that doesn't even include the fact that once you've seen that hypothetical useful 30sec ONCE, you never need to see it again, but in reality, they'll hit you with it over and over and OVER. So, even the hypothetical 30 useful seconds per 1000 ads is diluted by the fact they're repeat it when it too is no longer useful.

Useful ads? I can do without. If something's "useful" enough for me to need to know about, don't worry, I'll find out about it. Maybe from El Reg......

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jai
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Big Brother

google-hate

the google-hate is only because google are so dishonest about being a company that exists to make money

they insist they exist to make the world a better place for us all. but they won't acknowledge that

if they came clean and said "we're making gob-loads of money from this, and as a side-effect, here's some cool things for you, the hoi poloi, to play with" then we'd like them more

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Stop

I agree...

...but the problem is that the great unwashed don't want to pay for decent content. If people were willing to pay, adverts would not be neccesary. Personally I much prefer to use sites that are ad-free (and therefore clutter-free).

Unfortunately all Google are doing is exploiting this situation, and exploiting it to the max. My hope (at least for my web sites, that went completely Google-free late last year) is that people will start to appreciate the difference between a quality, advert free web site that is worth paying just a little for, and a free site that is plastered with Google adverts and helping them track your every smallest move.

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ministry of truth

in 1984, the ministry of truth alter every single source of information available to the masses in order to promote the current regime, and kidnapped, tortured and murdered anyone who threatened their monopoly on information.

"it has probably already past the point where it has much the same role as the "Ministry of Truth" had in 1984."

Really? Google created a really, really popular tool (Google maps) that millions (billions?) of people use, then look for ways to make money from it. There are excellent free maps (OpenStreetMap.org) you can use instead of Google maps. I suggest that StreetView, although technically rather impressive, isn't really of much practical use to most people. Why would you need to use it?

I don't agree with Google putting ads in StreetView, but to compare them to big brother makes your arguments sound ridiculous.

"..they realised a long time ago that the best way to do this is to own everyone's soul."

I cringe to think how much data Google has on me. It could be quite embarassing if edited excerpts from my search history were shown to my family and friends. But I am pretty sure that the only thing Google wants from me is my money. Like Tescos. If there are such things as souls, and if I ever had one, I am pretty sure Google neither has it nor covets it.

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Paris Hilton

Not about making money = evil

For Christ's sake, people. The issue is not, or should not be unless you buy into the "everything equal" Utopian crap, that a company exists to make money and that making money is inherently evil. The issue is how Google plans to go about doing so. Google is active trading in the very essence of what is YOU in order to make money, doing it with blatant disregard and reckless abandon, and moving into every part of the technological world so that it will be virtually impossible to avoid.

And doing all of the above with a bludgeoning instrument and a smile. And somehow we thank it.

Paris, she knows a little about Irish Diplomacy.

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Thumb Up

Not so much Minority Report...

...as They Live (1988).

If you haven't seen it, it's one of the best movies of the 80s (for both good and bad reasons, but it's highly entertaining). It's also seriously ripe for a remake, as the global conspiracy and corporate control issues it deals with are even more relevant today!

If I was in any way capable, I would make an augumented reality iPhone app that replaces billboards with stark white signs proclaiming 'CONSUME', newspapers with 'BELIEVE' and random people's faces with grotesque alien overlord features... classic.

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Coat

I *love* streetview.

Let's face it. Unless I win the lottery or some benefactor takes sympathy with the plight of me (aka "nobody special"), I'm *NOT* going to Japan. <sob> <sob> <sob>

However, thanks to streetview I can sort of go there. Earlier today I made my way from somewhere in the centre of Tokyo to the Tokyo Tower, with lots of clicking in street view. Interestingly it doesn't always go where you want it to, so I ended up in all sorts of alleyways with cute shops with names like "Happy Eaty!" (I think it said) and I could have sworn I saw a 7-11? At any rate, it was an interesting waste of time, and *SO* much better than looking at a map. I mean, there's a bridge that goes over Tokyo Bay and it was a bright sunny day so the views were superb. Great stuff!

Here's a picture of the bridge from the tower. Getting from one to the other isn't as easy as you might think!

http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/0vaQbrx7CbQPsABoMxzOIQ

IT angle? The west end of the bridge (on the right in that picture) has, duh-duh, an upper level and a lower level and below that on the ground are not one but *TWO* roads side by side. And you thought London was bad! Poor streetview, if you double-click to more further ahead than the big "/\" arrow, then it seems to pick which road you're actually on more or less at random. I didn't even know there was an upper level until I found myself on it!

My biggest desire for streetview? Auto-refresh. Load a frame, step forward, load, step, load... Even better if you can hit the cursors to choose which path to take at a junction. Just like driving it! <grin>

My biggest anathema? This billboard advertising idea. Ick! Ick! Ick! That would be SO horrible.

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Go

7-11

@heyrick, 7-11's are all over Tokyo, it's the only place you can get money out with your Western credit card. Wonder if Google Streetview will let me take money out from a cash machine in a 7-11 in Tokyo from my desk in Surrey. Seems like a natural endpoint for Google Streetview to me!

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Stop

Wow

I'm amazed that the Japanophiles can sneak 'content' like this into comments these days. Come on, a simple "street view is cool for places you haven't been" covers it with the same lack of regard for the issue at hand, and without the unnecessary love for Glorious Nippon.

For content: This "monetization" of streetview, while entirely predictable, should provide a more stark example of how the AdWords model of advertising is flawed on a very basic level. It will once the Apple stores find themselves plastered in PCWorld ads, anyway - that'll attract some fervor.

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Happy

Japan, glorious Japan!

Okay, the title is gratuitous. :-)

Anyway, Japan is an interesting country (I would say that...) which is sufficiently different to westernised things to make it worth exploring, if only in the virtual sense.

Want to look around Baltimore? Watch a John Waters film.

Want to look around Vancouver? Watch the X-Files.

I once explored parts of California using streetview. Ho hum, another oversized swimming pool by another oversized house, a few hops later and... well... was it a studio backlot? I don't know but "derelict" doesn't do it justice.

There's no streetview of Basingstoke. That's probably a good thing.

I just closed my eyes and random-dropped on the world. Ended up in "Fuente de Pedro Naharro" (Spain). Ho-hum. Been there, or somewhere not far from Madrid that looks like that (in other words, a road surrounded by lots of nothing).

Haven't been to the J-country yet, which is why I'm taking some time to streetview it. Of course, I'll happily shut up and stop it in exchange for air fare....!

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WTF?

Illegal?

If someone takes a picture of your property without your permission then places an advert over said picture, are they breaking the law?

Would a supermarket sit back as adds to competitors are placed over their shops?

If i was to take a picture of Pamela Anderson and add a little tag next to her with "Got milk, find out more here", would that not be using someone else's property(/y*ies)?

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Anonymous Coward

re: If someone takes a picture of your property without your permission

In UK (with a few Government exceptions and Police/PSCO/security harassment aside) - the photographer has no requirement to seek your permission, unless he is on your property and there isn't a public access right (such as public footpath) -

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Not really

As long as they on public property they have the right to take a photo of you, on private property they have no rights to. But, if you are in a photograph which is being used as an advert, I think you would have a pretty strong case for getting paid for it.

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Anonymous Coward

How to waste money 101

" businesses attach bar codes to their (real) storefronts so that people (physically) passing by can bring up info and special offers on their smartphones."

Put the offer in the window, not the bar code. Don't feed the Google.

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Black Helicopters

Meh.....

Just another method of displaying ads. Of course it may push some to advertise with google, simply to stop competitors ads appearing over the image of their shop. That's probably the real story here.

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Grenade

@mafoo

I don't know how the Flag Burning Amendment thing is going for the US right wing, but it occurred to me a decade or so ago that a Viagra ad on the Washington Monument would be much worse.

That said, I think in this case, 10 million people taking Google to small claims court for $1000 would be more effective than one expensive pitched battle over Free Speech.

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Was only time..

Projects such as street view, while generally provided free, do eventually have to fund themselves and ads on streetview is the next implementation.

Perhaps google should work in someway to block the ads, for those who use street view for other purposes.

I can just imagine a company, such as a cell provider, who integrates streetview into their systems, would want to keep people from seeing ads by other cell providers.

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Linux

I hope they open source the OCR bits

so that we can use them against Google's captcha ...

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This post has been deleted by its author

What?

I just don't see what the fuss is all about. You like Google's services? Use them. You don't like Google's services? Don't use them.

They don't have a monopoly, and they're reasonably open about what they do and do not do.

A future funded by advertising is a scary thought - because the idea that happiness comes from greater consummption is, er, deeply flawed. But there is a natural limit to it, so personally I'm not really bothered.

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Big Brother

not bothered ...yet?

What intrigues me is how Google can make so much money from ads that, at least for me, are totally ineffective. If they can continue like this with just a few more discrete ads here and there then fine by me.

But if ever they feel inclined to generate additional (and legal of course) revenues from practices way beyond their standard advertising methods what is to stop them - 'do no evil'?

WikiStreetView anyone?

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Sir

"because the idea that happiness comes from greater consummption is, er, deeply flawed. But there is a natural limit to it, so personally I'm not really bothered."

A natural limit to great consumption?

Would that natural limit be the point at which we have nothing left to consume?

That might not bother you, but it sure bothers the shit out of me.

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Stop

Alternatives?

"You like Google's services? Use them. You don't like Google's services? Don't use them."

URL please of alternative "Street View" service that contains the same quality and coverage.

[failing that, URL of alternative "Street View" service, period.]

Exactly.

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Official: El Reg Evil

From this web site's "Advertise with Us" link:

The Register offers a range of advertising and marketing solutions for clients large and small enabling them to communicate with its vast IT Professional community. Its sales and fulfillment teams work to ensure the best possible message reaches the most valuable audience.

The Register undertakes regular independent audits to ensure that its advertisers know who they are reaching. You can read all of them here.

It also applies geotargeting to all of its campaigns to ensure that the right people are seeing the right messages — and to ensure there's no geographic budget wastage.

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Coat

Are there adverts on The Register?

Are there adverts on The Register? I've never seen one.

Well ..... never more than once, anyway.

Mine's the one with a copy of "Misusing DNS for phun and profit" in the pocket.

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Anonymous Coward

Protection?

I was expecting something more like a virtual protection racket. "If you don't pay us, we'll blur your business in street view." So I'm quite surprised by this.

However I think most people use Street View as a bit of a novelty, not a serious tool as they would a search engine. IOW if Street View ends up full of intrusive advertising people will simply stop using it.

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Flame

"If you don't pay us"

I think it's more likely to be "If you don't pay us, we'll plaster virtual ads for your competitors all over your shop"

Flames, because I'm angry and can't help thinking of the many rants of the late, great Bill Hicks "STOP PUTTING A GODDAMN DOLLAR SIGN ON EVERYTHING I DO!!"

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Words and pictures

"Google filed for a patent on a system that automatically recognizes word and characters that turn up in digital photos."

In Streetview, would these be the same words and characters that Google blur out and assure us they don't have?

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Intergration

Oh, I thought this was going to be integrating the ads into streetview e.g. popping them onto a handy billboard in the image, or creating one if one wasn't there.

Now that would be something (awful)

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Cade Metz does Tom Cruise

Methinks the reference to Minority Report was freudian. Let's not forget the whole concept of that B-grade movie: pre-crime. Could Cade be guilty of passing judgement on Google before it's done anything? Perhaps El Reg is secretly squirrelled away, penning the sequel behind closed doors. I can see it now. Minority Report 2 - Vulture Central saves the World. El Reg hacks break into the Chocolate Factory only seconds before the axis of evil (Sergey, Larry and Eric) commits its next crimes against humanity... like putting barcodes on photos it took. Not for the squeamish or faint-hearted.

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Gates Horns

Yes. Defeats the object. Unless....

For the USER, this defeats the object of St View. StV allows you to see PHOTOS of the actual world. If it has f'ing ad's in the way of the images, then it's not photos of the real world but photos of ads. And no-one wants/needs that, so it 'defeats the object' for the user. However, if your objective is to make $, then perhaps it doesn't defeat the object. But there is obviously a major schism between the needs/wants of users and that of the shareholders here. Oh dear. Once again, shareholder greed ruins value for end user and destroys a concept.

This is an example of markets wrecking great ideas. St view is quite useful sometimes. Whenever you want to go to a store or friend's house you've not been to before. But I'd use it less if it has ads all over it.

Perhaps store owners, private individuals... could do their own virtual pano view of their location by panning their Iphone and provide that to people that want it, so they don't need St Views main handiness anymore. This removes the need for ads and boosts privacy.

May be impossible to get sufficient res and shutter speed with acceptable noise on a camera-phone to compete with the quality of St V though. Laws of physics. Available light versus pixel pitch versus sig:noise versus shutter speed, v panning speed, v field of view of lens, versus pixel count....

It could be done theoretically with v accurate GPS and orientation sensors in the phone and if you span around and around and around and then software pulled all the data that fits from the mass collected and seamlessly stitch it into a high-res (higher than sensor collecting it), seamless, accurately stitched sphere. But I doubt consumers would want to spin around and around in the street and besides, it'll be a while before such software exists never mind phones with the power to process it.

So looks like St V isn't going to get usurped any time soon - except by the greed of shareholders.

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Stop

Ahem...

Why would Google set up Street View and not try to monetarise it? When it was launched, my first thought was 'wow!', my second was 'hmm, expensive' and my third was 'when do we get to pay for this'. The answer to that third thought is now with us.

No large corporation, least of all Google, give stuff away for free. As much as it may appear that they do (and this is part of the genius). And whenever I use a Google service that thought sits in the back of my mind.

Marketing didn't wreck Street View. They probably helped create it.

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"...links to Google ads in the real world..."

As I am not a web browser, I don't really care what links Google ads have in the real world.

I don't see why a shopkeeper would put up an ad with a barcode link for Google or anyone else in their window (unless they get paid to do so). If they put up any ad of this type, it would more likely be a link directly to their own website or other contact details.

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Ty
Jobs Halo

Ummmm

Are you seriously saying you didn't see this coming from the moment Google Earth added 3D buildings?!

Learn to join the dots people for goodness sake. It was the only reason Google Earth came in to existence!

*sigh*

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jai
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why not replace the real ads

when i read the article, i thought you meant that Google were going to be overlaying ads on top of the billboards and posters shown in the streetview images

that would be cool

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RE: why not replace the real ads

Don't worry, I am sure they have thought of that too.

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WTF?

Hypocrites

... just because somebody found a creative way of displaying ads - or at least more creative than the crappy banners used by El Reg. Sounds like sour grapes to me.

Anyway, when did this mag become such a harbour for sour pessimist hacks? If you don't like something then try to do better, anyone can pick holes in other people's work.

Pathetic.

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Well said that man

Getting fed up with The Registers constant Google bashing. Of course they are a company that need to make money, and continue to make money, and their entire income is based on advertising. So of course they are going to try and monetise their portfolio of applications. It's called business, and to be honest, I've not seen anything yet, despite various Reg hacks best efforts, that could remotely be classed as 'evil'. Just business. (Clearly, some businesses are evil, just not Google). If they are sensible, they will ensure that although ads are present on things like Steet View, they are not so intrusive as to ruin the experience and stop people using it. That's just common sense. That way, Google make revenue and the user is happy that they are getting a free service. Hurrah!

As someone above said - if you don't like it, don't use it.

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Flame

Re: Well said that man

"It's just business, cattle prods, and the IMF."

Now please stand by for your next dose of shiny.

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Grenade

2010 will be the year...

...where Google will be facing significant counterforce from the general public, at least in Europe. MSM and politicians (with the need to profile themselves) will create a wave of anti-Google sentiment previously unseen. And frankly, most of us know they are right, because we have been trying for years to make them aware.

With all the recent events (in fact, too many to mention here) it will not take much more to see the average guy becoming suspicous. And yep, it'll be fun to watch Google tumble.

BTW, wouldn't it be time for El Reg to get rid of Google's prying eyes? My ad blocker mentions Analytics, Doubleclick ads, and Adsense ads? Do you earn that much from Google that you need to have this? Hey com'on, you're El Reg, you don't need that...!

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Silver badge
Go

They'll have problems with this in Australia

Back in the 90s, a national TV station here used video overlays to display their own advertisments over the top of the billboards placed around the boundary in football and cricket matches. The national football and cricket associations took the station to court over it, because the revenue from the boundary billboards funded them and they were not paid any revenue from the station's overlays. The court ruled in favour of the sporting associations and ordered that TV stations could not obscure the boundary billboards when broadcasting games.

So here we have a nice precedent already set in case history should Google decide to plaster competitors' ads all over your business in Street View. I know my company, for one, would certainly take Google to court over it if we saw ads for rival companies planted in front of our business!

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Altered reality

Small businesses very often have a phone number on the hoarding above the shop. I often use street view to find the number of a businesses when I've forgotten their name so can't easily look it up on with a web search.

I can now envision a future where google uses it's number plate blurring technology to erase all those phone numbers (maybe even the business name too) unless they pay a fee to "advertise" on street view....

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