There is no catch. Google make their money ($billions) from advertising links on their pages and from selling their search engine to corporates so that their staff can do company site searches. They are also very altuistic.
It was being debated on my local BBC Radio yesterday....
The government are going to use google.earth to see if people have 'undeclared' extensions or conservatories that may affect their community charge.
The debate seemed to be heavily on the side of this being 'big brother' and unwarranted intrusion. My view is that if you have nothing to fear, it isn't. And why should I subsidise other people who try to cheat other community charge payers?
One person was scared that they might be spied on a summers' day sunbathing in the back garden. I don't, somehow, think that google.earth is that high a definition image.
the government would have at least as high definition sources of their own.
Mind you, I did see an article on the register where a student from somewhere (bourmouth I think) was convinced he'd found himself sunbathing on the roof garden of his flat on google earth! They've really bumped up the definition available recently.
is in the mind of the beholder, and I doubt that Google is doing anything because they are all heart. Any business that rises in such a meteoric fashion deserves the credit that's due to it, but let's not think for one moment that Google became such a huge concern without having some incredibly profit-focused minds at work in those cosy, cushion-strewn rooms of theirs.
They might make a better job of it than the motley crews the world has at present. I expect CGHQ have a few files, too. The Google spying potential reminds me that the allies (well, the U.S.) were supposed to be able to do this sort of thing 20 or so years ago, zooming in on individual streets with 'Star Wars' technology but when it comes to it not a lot to avoid conflicts is spotted by anyone. I agree that there are no free lunches but people pay a lot now for continual mess-ups. I'll click the link when I've had some shut-eye, the better to wade through the media froth.