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First Google Maps Hack Takedown

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the how-about-an-ellroy-crime-site-map-of-LA dept.

Google 325

An anonymous reader writes "Despite "users accelerating innovation" with Google Maps the 'hacks' are not immune from Google's legal team, who have taken down "Google Wallpapers for violating the terms of agreement. From a quick skim through the terms it would seem that most sites using the Google Maps data are in violation. Are Chicago Crime and Google Sightseeing next to go?" It may be a shame to shut down Google Maps offshoots, but that has to be the nicest take-down note I've ever seen; it's polite, friendly and reasonable. Update: 06/08 21:22 GMT by T : Below, a few more of the current uses for Google Maps.An anonymous reader submits "The AP is running a story about the multiple uses for Google Maps. Among the uses, Tracking sexual predators in Florida, Guiding travelers to the cheapest gas nationwide, Pinpointing $1,500 studio apartments for rent in Manhattan, and Finding crime in Chicago. It'll be interesting to see if Google allows these sites to remain online or not."

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Getting Google Takedowns with Google... (5, Interesting)

Greg Wright (104533) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761779)

Funny, you can still get to the python script that generates the wallpapers from the cached pages of http://gmerge.2ni.net/ [2ni.net] on Google itself:

http://66.102.7.104/search?q=cache:lNdeCgLHUdwJ:le vinux.org/~2ni/gmerge/+google+maps+wallpaper&hl=en [66.102.7.104]

Get it while its still there! :)

Re:Getting Google Takedowns with Google... (4, Funny)

suwain_2 (260792) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761805)

How about a cache of their cache [nyud.net] just to be paranoid?

Re:Getting Google Takedowns with Google... (1)

abb3w (696381) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761809)

You'd think that the legal department would have sent themselves a copy of the takedown notice...

Re:Getting Google Takedowns with Google... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12761834)

And does the app they had for download still work? That'd be funny...

I wonder if this application of google maps just had too many data requests on maps.google.com or something like that...

Chicago, Schmagucko: +1, Patriotic (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12761874)

Try White House High Crimes [whitehouse.org] and then write your Congress(wo)man.

Very patriotically yours,
Kilgore Trout, CEO

Re:Getting Google Takedowns with Google... (3, Informative)

Mercano (826132) | more than 9 years ago | (#12762068)

Or, Google cache of the source code:

http://64.233.167.104/search?q=cache:fWrAVd4XgzUJ: gmerge.2ni.net/gmerge.py [64.233.167.104]

Re:Getting Google Takedowns with Google... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12762130)

I can't seem to get the script to work. I keep getting error like: ./googlemapsstitcher.py:145: DeprecationWarning: integer argument expected, got float
for yi in range(0, tileHeight): ./googlemapsstitcher.py:146: DeprecationWarning: integer argument expected, got float
for xi in range(0, tileWidth):
unsubscriptable object

unsubscriptable object

unsubscriptable object

unsubscriptable object

unsubscriptable object

unsubscriptable object

unsubscriptable object

unsubscriptable object

unsubscriptable object

unsubscriptable object

unsubscriptable object

unsubscriptable object

unsubscriptable object

Anyone got a sample URL that does work?

Nicest Shut down? (4, Insightful)

fembots (753724) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761780)

So if RIAA sent you a bouquet of flowers with a cute, humorous, handwritten greeting card personally signed by the PR manager informing your court appearance date, it wouldn't be so bad?

I don't think there is anything wrong for a listed company to protect its interest, control its IPs and maximize its profit, but the fanboy twist is totally unnecessary.

Re:Nicest Shut down? (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761833)

No, it wouldn't.

Re:Nicest Shut down? (2, Insightful)

martok (7123) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761862)

Though this is true to a point, there is something to be said about sending a notice to the site operator directly. Afaik, the *aa folks tend to harass upstream providers and do not contact site operators directly. Though, I am sure google would have done likewise if a favourable response was not fourthcoming.

Re:Nicest Shut down? (1)

urmensch (314385) | more than 9 years ago | (#12762092)

What if a favourable response was thirdcoming?

Sorry!

Re:Nicest Shut down? (2, Insightful)

bagel2ooo (106312) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761869)

I didn't notice anything about google requesting a court appearance. If RIAA did what you stated above and came across in a manner that made you feel they were doing this for the greater interests of their other customers (Artists and Music License Purchasers) then it would be a whole different story. If they sent a bouquet of flowers ... and all, along with a simple request to have it taken down for the good of the upstart artist and other music patrons, I'm sure your take on it would be far different.

Here's a copy of the google takedown notice (1)

arothstein (233805) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761876)

*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_
g_______________________________________________g_ _
o_/_____\_____________\____________/____\_______o_ _
a|_______|_____________\__________|______|______a_ _
t|_______`._____________|_________|_______:_____t_ _
s`________|_____________|________\|_______|_____s_ _
e_\_______|_/_______/__\\\___--___\\_______:____e_ _
x__\______\/____--~~__________~--__|_\_____|____x_ _
*___\______\_-~____________________~-_\____|____*_ _
g____\______\_________.--------.______\|___|____g_ _
o______\_____\______//_________(_(__>__\___|____o_ _
a_______\___.__C____)_________(_(____>__|__/____a_ _
t_______/\_|___C_____)/CEASE_\_(_____>__|_/_____t_ _
s______/_/\|___C_____)__AND__|__(___>___/__\____s_ _
e_____|___(____C_____)\DECIST/__//__/_/_____\___e_ _
x_____|____\__|_____\\_ASSHOLE_//_(__/_______|__x_ _
*____|_\____\____)___`----___--'_____________|__*_ _
g____|__\______________\_______/____________/_|_g_ _
o___|______________/____|_____|__\____________|_o_ _
a___|_____________|____/_______\__\___________|_a_ _
t___|__________/_/____|_________|__\___________|t_ _
s___|_________/_/______\__/\___/____|__________|s_ _
e__|_________/_/________|____|_______|_________|e_ _
x__|__________|_________|____|_______|_________|x_ _
*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_


Important Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account.

Important Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account.

Important Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account.

Re:Nicest Shut down? (2, Insightful)

N3WBI3 (595976) | more than 9 years ago | (#12762006)

No, Google was polite they explained themselves, did not start with "we'll sue your @$$"...

Re:Nicest Shut down? (3, Funny)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 9 years ago | (#12762061)

I think a C&D letter written in L337 speak would be hillarious.

If you must be evil... (5, Funny)

straponego (521991) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761785)

...at least be nice about it?

Re:If you must be evil... (4, Funny)

Morel (67425) | more than 9 years ago | (#12762060)

I think Winston Churchill said it best:

"If you must kill a man, it costs you nothing to be polite about it."

Cheers,

Morel

Re:If you must be evil... (1)

zerbot (882848) | more than 9 years ago | (#12762116)

I don't think it's evil. I know a lot of people who hold IP, and if they could, they wouldn't mind most of the infringing uses. Unfortunately, our legal system says that if you don't defend your IP, then you lose it, and losing it usually means that some rapacious evildoer manages to find a way to rook you out of what should be yours. In some cases, the IP holders just ask that you write and ask permission, that's all, then nobody needs to get into take down notices.

But being polite goes a long way in my book. Nothing says a take down notice can't be nice and polite.

Noooooooooo! (2, Informative)

professorhojo (686761) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761789)

i hope my favorite mashup, google housing, that uses the craigslist rental pages won't get taken down!!

http://www.housingmaps.com/ [housingmaps.com]

Re:Noooooooooo! (4, Insightful)

alphakappa (687189) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761879)

I don't think they will take down the craigslist-googlemaps mashup since they themselves praised it as a featured project on Google Code.

There is a reason why this particular project got the takedown notice:
1. The satellite/air imagery is probably not owned by Google - they must have licensed it from AirphotoUSA or whoever else is the supplier.
2. The wallpaper site simply takes the images and stitches them together as a wallpaper - which means that are not simply incorporating a google product, but appropriating the images therein. Google's terms of use with their provider would necessisate the takedown.

Re:Noooooooooo! (1)

xiando (770382) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761885)

housingmaps is also In Violation of the Google Map Service as stated on http://www.google.com/help/terms_local.html [google.com] , quote: "The photographic imagery made available for display through Google maps is provided under a nonexclusive, non-transferable license for use only by you. You may not use the imagery in any commercial or business environment or for any commercial or business purposes for yourself or any third parties."

Basically every site out there using any kind of images from the Google Map service is in violation and should shut down immediately.

This is not like the **AA who blaitently sends out takedown notices almost randomly to people who are not in violation of any law or rule, Google has The Right to ask sites who are in violation to please close down. And they should, now the cat is out of the bag, such sites apperently bother Google and they may not be so nice about it to those who do not take the hint later.

Re:Noooooooooo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12762003)

The RIAA/MPAA does not send letters to people who are not in violation. This would be quite illegal.

The RIAA/MPAA actually looks for people in violation of their copyrights and takes appropriate action.

Still a little work to do, methinks (1)

poptones (653660) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761938)

Why does it show me a map of the SF bay area when looking for an apartment in Austin? My friend in Austin always says its a lot like San Francisco but I didn't think he meant it that much.

That is friendly, (5, Interesting)

MrByte420 (554317) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761790)

No...

1. Lawyers
2. Due Dates
3. Use of the word "compliance"
4. Use of the word "further action"
5. Nice invitation to a developers conference.

I'll take that over the .*AA any day.

Re:That is friendly, (4, Insightful)

MrByte420 (554317) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761813)

AND they said PLEASE! Please of all things! Its wonderful.

Re:That is friendly, (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761818)

5. Nice invitation to a developers conference.

That's an invitation from the site owners, not Google. Your other points hold true. it was a fairly non-threatening, nicely worded request. :-)

Re:That is friendly, (1)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 9 years ago | (#12762066)

Damn, you used almost used a regex instead of a dos wildcard. The world really is changing.

Re:That is friendly, (1)

Albinofrenchy (844079) | more than 9 years ago | (#12762118)

Sure, they are being friendly, but it is most likely done to protect their image.

Sure, they have the right, and sure no one should hold it against them. But why are we praising them for it?

script still around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12761797)

At least the gmerge script is still around.

Interesting wording (4, Interesting)

jandrese (485) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761808)

It sounds like Google Maps had to sign an agreement not to let the image data be used for commercial purposes. I wonder if they got a letter telling them to take down the offending site or be sued?

Re:Interesting wording (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12761902)



I would additionally wonder if the satellite views are subject to a different license (for Google) than the roadmaps.

I must admit that making large standalone images from the satellite views does, in fact, seem notably different than most of the other homebrew Googlemap sites out there, which may be why this particular site recieved this letter while the others didn't.

But who knows... maybe this is just the start.

Tough call (2, Interesting)

Nos. (179609) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761819)

I love google, and google maps is wonderful to play with. I had actually considered building something like the Chicago Crime page, but given the terms of service, thought I'd better not. I can see Google's point. They are providing a free service for individuals. Haveing another person/group/company use that freedom to build a new service and possibly profit off of it at the expense of the individuals it was created for is rough.

That being said, I think there is a lot of potential for other uses of Google Maps, and hopefully at some point, Google will allow some sort of licenses for use other than personal.

Re:Tough call (4, Informative)

xiando (770382) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761941)

Making such a site would not be a problem if you simply ask Google for the proper permissions. Who knows, if you are lucky then you might get a deal. And if you don't, at least you have tried, all they can do is say No. IP and Copyright does not need to be a problem if you are willing to talk and explain your intentions. Takedown notices generally come when you violate Copyright without even trying to get a permission deal.

Re:Tough call (4, Interesting)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 9 years ago | (#12762093)

As someone who has tried to get a number of permission deals from various industries, I'll let you know right now that RIAA and MPAA related companies tend to completely ignore you, even when you've emailed, faxed and sent snail mail (there's no way to get to a real person in charge of such things at the phone numbers I've tried).

Software publishers (I've never tried to contact a BSA publisher) and other independent media publishers are usually delighted to make a deal; often, even for free, or with a small percentage kickback if you're doing something for-profit.

I'm glad Google has decided to side with the independents instead of the corporate behemoths on their treatment of individuals in this case, and actually acknowledge that corporations share the world with individual human beings.

Re:Tough call (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 9 years ago | (#12762044)

They are providing a free service for individuals. Haveing another person/group/company use that freedom to build a new service and possibly profit off of it at the expense of the individuals it was created for is rough.

It's only indirectly that your comment makes sense. The people using Google's stuff (including the infrastructure and all of that overhead) aren't doing so at the "expense of the individuals it was created for" in the sense of end users. What Google creates, it creates for its investors. They are not running a charity, they're taking a certain gamble that each of their projects, and the audience for them, will add up - in one way or another - to having done right by the people that ponied up the money to do it, and to keep paying the (huge!) bills for running it every day. It's their toy, they built it, they had an idea of how they expect it fit into their budget and forecasting, and supplying other businesses with that sort of data (or use of the data) for free isn't part of that picture.

They're certainly going to allow other licensing for this, just like they do for other things... and like many of those other things, they're going to attach a value to it. And, it's no pay, no play. Considering what they already provide at no cost to end users/searchers, it's not surprising that they've got a commercial interest in something like /maps that are such a resource hog and source material cost center.

Go Google! (4, Informative)

oldosadmin (759103) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761826)

I must say... they really are, "not being evil".

I've recieved a DMCA takedown notice before. Most aren't pretty. Personally, I never understood why most DMCA takedown notices were taken directly to ISP level, without even a word to the webmaster.

In this case, Google sent a nice letter, requesting they take it down, and even explaining why. This is far superious to any other company takedown letter I've ever seen.

Re:Go Google! (1)

wo1verin3 (473094) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761963)

When I got my DMCA takedown notice from GameSpot (game screenshots) it was pretty nasty but they didn't contact my provider..

Re:Go Google! (1)

xiando (770382) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761979)

I have also got a DMCA takedown notice and it was intentionally mailed the upstream provider without any attempt to contact the proper e-mail given on the site and the DMCA link on the site. I think this is common for evil corporations. Like TPB kindly points out to someone who mailed them a DMCA notice: "Additionally, you have mistaken our ISP for us." http://thepiratebay.org/legal.php [thepiratebay.org]

Re:Go Google! (1)

oldosadmin (759103) | more than 9 years ago | (#12762085)

Yes -- same thing happened here.

I've gotten two dmcas. First one went to my shared hosting provider, who cut off my http, on a friday around 5pm, and it had to stay off until I could contact them monday.

Second time, I just got an email from my vps provider, linode.com, passing it along, and saying "handle it". I actually put up a forum thread on their site praising them for it.

If any of you want a good provider, go with Linode [linode.com] . The staff is great, service is great... no real negatives to it.

In case you were wondering, here is a link to the first DMCA notice I recieved: http://www.oldos.org/history/oms/letter.htm [oldos.org] . Of course, that was two years ago. We're back up, and legal at http://www.oldos.org/ [oldos.org] .

Clearly Derivative (1, Interesting)

Akoman (559057) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761827)

OK, so it's pretty clear that the script is creating derivative works by stitching together the sat-maps. But how is Chicagocrime violating the terms?

Re:Clearly Derivative (1)

flood6 (852877) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761967)

But how is Chicagocrime violating the terms?

Google's TOS allows people to use this service for personal use. The Chicagocrime site is using Google's info and displaying it to the public.

From TFTOS:" The Google Services are made available for your personal, non-commercial use only. You may not use the Google Services to sell a product or service, or to increase traffic to your Web site for commercial reasons, such as advertising sales.

I don't think the Chicagocrimes site has any ads there right now, so it is non-commercial, but it still not "personal use".

What? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12761829)

Did you hear that......FIR$T P0sT bitCHES!!!!!! GOOGLE IS EVIL! Google can suck my ass!

Sorry Google, but there ain't no contract (0, Troll)

russotto (537200) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761835)

Terms? There's no agreement between the users of a website and that website, no matter what Google says. Google may be able to prevent commercial use of the images because that would violate their statutory rights under the copyright act, but they can't just invent any old set of terms and successfully claim that by using their web site you've agreed to them, any more than Fox can dictate the terms of your television-watching to you.

Re:Sorry Google, but there ain't no contract (1)

brightboy (218971) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761884)

...any more than Fox can dictate the terms of your television-watching to you.

Shh! Don't give them any ideas!

Re:Sorry Google, but there ain't no contract (1)

flood6 (852877) | more than 9 years ago | (#12762031)

"Google may be able to prevent commercial use of the images..."

That's the point. The webmasters are lifting images and using resources from Google without their permission. Google makes money by showing visitors ads. These tools do not show Google's ads to end users - Google can claim they lose money by having their resources taken without the chance to earn income.

Their product is being offered to users in ways they did not intend, did not authorize, and are unable to monitize.

Re:Sorry Google, but there ain't no contract (2, Insightful)

MikeTheYak (123496) | more than 9 years ago | (#12762077)

You almost had it. Google's ownership of copyrights actually does allow them to set the terms that they have. You can use their service however you see fit for the most part, but you can't COPY (or rebroadcast, or make a derivative work from, etc.) the information except under the rights they grant. It's not a contract; it's a license. It's the same mechanism the GPL uses to restrict what can be done with GPL-licensed software.

Re:Sorry Google, but there ain't no contract (5, Insightful)

Sierra Charlie (37047) | more than 9 years ago | (#12762135)

How did the parent get modded insightful?

The maps are a copyrighted work. By default, you can't redistribute derivatives of that work unless the copyright holder explicitly grants permission.

The terms of service explain your rights to the content... they don't restrict them.

And yes... Fox can't dictate how you watch television. But try recording their lineup, stripping the commercials, and putting them on the Internet. :)

Re:Sorry Google, but there ain't no contract (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 9 years ago | (#12762136)

any more than Fox can dictate the terms of your television-watching to you.

You must not have tried to record a favorite program going off the program guide.

Google starts the takedown.... (5, Funny)

ErikTheRed (162431) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761838)

...and then we finish the job with a Slashdotting. Nice.

Re:Google starts the takedown.... (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 9 years ago | (#12762046)

A bit like the iron fist in the velvet glove?

Re:Google starts the takedown.... (1)

markild (862998) | more than 9 years ago | (#12762108)

Google Henchman: We don't have the power to take that site down, Sir.
Google CEO: No problem, sport. We'll just post it on slashdot.

First firefox is the new ie, then google becomes the new ms. What's next? SCO goes open source?

Down.. (5, Funny)

devross (524605) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761842)

Are Chicago Crime and Google Sightseeing next to go?

Unfortunately yes, but that's because of us, not their violation of terms with Google.

Re:Down.. (1)

Wiser87 (742455) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761953)

Go figure, the time when I actually want mod points is when I don't have them...

There should be a new /. section called 'google'.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12761844)

too much google fetish for me

Re:There should be a new /. section called 'google (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12761982)

You don't want to even contemplate what depraved activity the gay Linux community refers to as "googling". You thought a "hot Carl" was disgusting!

Re:There should be a new /. section called 'google (2, Funny)

shakezula (842399) | more than 9 years ago | (#12762070)

I agree, I mean damn...BSD has its own section, and its DEAD!

Google Sightseeing? (1)

bbc (126005) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761848)


I am not sure how Google Sightseeing could be in trouble, except for trademark violation. They do not seem to be using the maps, but rather the satellite photos, which cannot be copyrighted.

Re:Google Sightseeing? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12761971)



"I am not sure how Google Sightseeing could be in trouble, except for trademark violation. They do not seem to be using the maps, but rather the satellite photos, which cannot be copyrighted."

Why not? Because the photographs were taken remotely, in space, instead of using an SLR in some dude's hands? A photograph's a photograph, and certainly these particular photographs represent a sizeable investment for the photographer.

I wouldn't be surprised at all if they're being used by Google under a very specific license from the service that provided them.

Re:Google Sightseeing? (1)

bbc (126005) | more than 9 years ago | (#12762080)

"Why not?"

Because a work needs an author to be copyrightable. Because a work needs to be original [cornell.edu] to be copyrightable. Because Google's goal with these satellite images is presumably to create a true reproduction of how earth looks from space.

"certainly these particular photographs represent a sizeable investment for the photographer"

Sizeable investments have nothing to do with copyright.

Re:Google Sightseeing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12762025)

Of course the satellite photos can be copyrighted. It is no different from someone taking a picture of a famous mountain or monument from the ground. The thing itself isn't copyrightable, but the photograph of it certainly is.

The gMail invite spooler's been shut down, too (2, Interesting)

obli (650741) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761851)

Google's been shutting down the gMail invite spooler , too, but according to the creator and owner of the site (http://isnoop.net/gmail/ [isnoop.net] ) his legal notification from the legal team was quite friendly, it's pretty cool that google isn't the kind of company that keeps rabid lawyers around to sue people. See thread on Somethingawful.com for more: http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?s= &threadid=1580408 [somethingawful.com]

montage-a-google (1)

griasr (822487) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761856)

Montage-a-Google http://www.kiffer.at/m-a-g [kiffer.at] seems not be gettin problems. they are als listed on wikipedia.

I'm surprised Google let others leech like this (2, Interesting)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761858)

I'm actually surprised Google let others leech on their bandwidth like this without paying them or anything. Same with e.g. GoogleFS and other hacks. Either this is a sign of more things to come, or it's just one of few sites they didn't like even with their highly relaxed stance about others leeching on their services.

Leech? (2, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 9 years ago | (#12762017)

You couldn't *pay* for the publicity that people like /. readers, admins, developers give for Google.

Know the first thing I tell a new user who know bugger all about the Internet? www.google.com. In fact, I usually set it as their home page to make my life easier.

That translates directly into advertising revenue, and I do it because they have a spectacularly good search system, very cool add on tools and they let us play with them for free. They know *exactly* what they're doing and I'm fine with it.

Google Maps are awfully distorted anyway (4, Informative)

product byproduct (628318) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761861)

Google Maps uses a fixed longitude/latitude distance ratio of ~0.772, while the true ratio depends on latitude (the ratio should be cos(latitude)). So Google Map is optimized for 39.5 of latitude (N or S), and the maps are increasingly distorted as you go toward the poles or the equator.

For example, Anchorage is stretched horizontally by a factor of 1.60 [google.com] (yup those should be right angles).

MapQuest is similarly distorted, but Yahoo Maps is not.

Re:Google Maps are awfully distorted anyway (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761974)

Not sure you are correct. If you zoom out two levels, you see blocks and blocks of perfectly right angle rectangular city blocks.

Re:Google Maps are awfully distorted anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12761985)

Re:Google Maps are awfully distorted anyway (1)

truesaer (135079) | more than 9 years ago | (#12762063)

I don't see why they can't. As soon as Google informs you that you are not permitted to access their map images unless you agree to their terms you should have to comply. If you don't know of the terms you may be able to legitimately say "I used a standard protocol," but once you've been informed of a condition for accessing someone elses property/server then you're on notice.

Re:Google Maps are awfully distorted anyway (2, Interesting)

phoenix.bam! (642635) | more than 9 years ago | (#12762074)

For reference, here are all the links.
Google [google.com]
Yahoo [yahoo.com]
MapQuest [mapquest.com]

The reason Google is distorted is because the satellite image matches with the road maps. The satellite isn't nearly as far north as it would need to be to properly take the images it has. It is closer to the horizon so it gives a distorted looking image. Google most likely distorts the maps on purpose.

MapQuest is the same as Google, but Yahoo is right (1)

vistic (556838) | more than 9 years ago | (#12762110)

Google and MapQuest both look stretched out horizontally... Yahoo is the only one that looks normal. That's interesting.

Re:Google Maps are awfully distorted anyway (1)

truesaer (135079) | more than 9 years ago | (#12762083)

Whoops, replied to the wrong post sorry!

Re:Google Maps are awfully distorted anyway (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 9 years ago | (#12762102)

WTF kind of animal do they have in their zoo [google.com] up there, Cthulhu?!!!!

Re:Google Maps are awfully distorted anyway (1)

Mille Mots (865955) | more than 9 years ago | (#12762107)

That's interesting information, I wonder if the maps in Microsoft MapPoint are similarly distorted.

But, back to the matter at hand, namely Google Maps. Should these North-South streets [google.com] be a lot closer together, then?

Re:Google Maps are awfully distorted anyway (2, Informative)

mapmaker (140036) | more than 9 years ago | (#12762138)

All maps are distorted. The earth is round(ish) and maps are flat, and you can not represent a curved surface using a flat surface without distorting it. For a demonstration of this concept, try flattening an orange peel without squishing/stretching it.

however, different map projections can minimize distortion at different locations. What Google could (and maybe should) do is dynamically change the map projection used depending on the location currently being viewed to minimize distortion at that location.

If any Google HR reps are watching, I'd be glad to help with this. Make me an offer! :)

Next to go? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12761866)

Are Chicago Crime and Google Sightseeing next to go?"
Yep, judging by the unresponsiveness of their servers it looks like that. They are already gone.

Who wrote that headline? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12761872)

wtf does that mean!? fired.

Re:Who wrote that headline? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12762013)

You are correct sir! The proper phrasing should have been " World's First Google Maps Hack Takedown "!!!!

One day... (5, Funny)

LegendOfLink (574790) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761877)

"but that has to be the nicest take-down note I've ever seen; it's polite, friendly and reasonable."

Many years from now, we will see a similar Slashdot post when Google becomes the New World Order:

Dear Bill,

The GoogleOS team recently noticed that you guys have had your asses handed to you, by us. We commend you on your many years of somehow staying at the top, despite the fact that you sorely neglected securing your software. Sorry we had to break your record; but your evil violated the official Evil Google TOS, listed on our home page.

Lots of love and warm tapioca,
Larry and Sergei

google cache? (0)

zerkon (838861) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761890)

Anyone have the google cache to their site? it seems slow...

Waste of effort... (2, Funny)

Beek Dog (610072) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761895)

They might as well just post the offending URL here. Down quicker than you can say "Service Unavailable".

Google maps are inaccurate.....still like MapQuest (4, Informative)

compmanio36 (882809) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761904)

I used Google maps once, and I got SO lost in downtown Seattle. Their service is nice and full of features, but I prefer simple accuracy over fancy graphics anyday, especially when it means getting lost in the maze of one-way streets and idiot drivers that is downtown of any major city.

No, Google is good at a lot of things, but right now, maps is NOT one of those things.

Re:Google maps are inaccurate.....still like MapQu (2, Insightful)

generic-man (33649) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761948)

Don't worry. I'm sure the maps will be better once Google Maps is out of beta.

You wouldn't trust a beta service to do something as vital as navigation, now would you?

Re:Google maps are inaccurate.....still like MapQu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12762019)

Seattle is not a major city.

What is this shit? (1)

Nosf3ratu (702029) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761916)

That story summurization assumes too much of the reader. Most notably, that the reader has any clue whatsoever what the offshoot in question was.

Slashdot: Having went so far downhill as to be roiling around the sewer.

Re:What is this shit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12761975)

That story summurization assumes too much of the reader. Most notably, that the reader has any clue whatsoever what the offshoot in question was.

Well, er, no, it's called "Google Wallpapers".

The site, which *is* still working, showed you what it did: stitch several results from google maps together to map you a desktop background.

Intergalactic Search Battle (1)

krudler (836743) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761934)

Be there for the fantabulous extravaganza!

It's Google Wallpapers versus Google, Google versus Google Sightseeing, and Google Sightseeing versus Your Mother!

It's INSTUPITUOUS!

dishonesty abounds! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12761960)

This is a fraudulent science "experiment"

This demonstration to "prove" the theory of evolution requires the addition of living things to be added to the tank before the experiment to "prove" that life evolved. These animals are hidden, with the intent to bring them out to the appropriate time, with a claim that they "evolved" from inert materials.

http://faraday.physics.uiowa.edu/astro/8A30.90.htm [uiowa.edu]

Gee, if evolution is so "factual" and so directly based on scientific observations, why is it necessary to resort to fraud for demonstration?

Code Number : 8A30.90?

Disclaimer:

Reprinted by permission of Dick Berg, University of Maryland, for use on this website.

The demonstrations contained and referenced herein are listed for the purposes of cataloging and describing physics demonstrations which should be conducted only under the direction of a trained instructional support professional or physicist. These demonstrations are not presented for the purpose of being conducted by persons unconnected to this Facility and/or persons not consulting with or being supervised by the recognized instructional support professional or physicist and his/her staff. The University is responsible only for those demonstrations carried out using its own equipment using established safety and scheduling policies, and bears no responsibility for those choosing to use this source material for their own purposes. All demonstrations described and contained herein are public domain, and can also be found in reference materials in libraries, bookstores, and electronic sources.

Further information regarding legal liability in use of demonstrations and labs will be found on the web site Injuries in School/College Laboratories in USA.

The University of Iowa Disclaimers: U of Iowa Dept. of Physics and Astronomy Disclaimer.
Condition : Good
Principle : Evolution
Area of Study : Solar Astronomy
Equipment : Aquarium (Large Tank), U.V. Lights, Variac, Light Bulb, Two Carbon Electrodes and Holder, Test tube Holder, Aquarium Accessories, Water (40 Liters), Liquid Nitrogen (2.4 Liters), Carbon (Charcoal - 10 lb.), Sulfur (60 grams), Calcium (120 grams), Ground Chalk, Phosphorus (Phosphoric acid - 13 ml), Trace amounts of elements (Na, Cl, K, I, Fe, Mn, Mo, Si, F, Cu, Zn), Large Stirring Rod, Large Tongs, Sponge Animals.

Procedure : This demo is based on an experiment where amino acids were created using much the same conditions.

Set the fish tank on the table. Fill this with water to a height of 6 1/2 inches above the table and you will have approximately 40 liters. Put the 10 lb. of charcoal into two large plastic beakers with the small sponge animals hidden in amongst the charcoal. The liquid nitrogen is picked up from Biochem Stores ahead of time. The rest of the chemicals can be measured out into their own separate petri dishes. Place the U.V. lights above and/or behind the tank. Have the electrodes all set up and ready to put into the tank when ready. Procedure: The Lecture Demonstration Coordinator helps with this experiment. Pour the charcoal into the tank of water. Now with stirring pour in the liquid nitrogen. A nice rolling fog will develop. Next add the sulfur (60 gr.), calcium (120 gr.), Phosphorus (Phosphoric acid - 13 ml.), and the trace minerals sodium, chlorine, iodine (Iodized Salt), potassium (Salt Substitute), iron, copper, zinc, (Metal filings), manganese (Manganese Oxide - MnO2), Silicon (Sand), Molybdenum and Florine (We usually do without these two). Now we have all the ingredients to make life. Add a little energy in the forms of U.V. radiation (U.V. Lights), and Lightning (Electrodes hooked to variac). The light bulb is put in series with the electrodes so that you can see that current is flowing in the mixture. At the end of lecture the teacher shut off and unplugs the variac and pulls out one of the sponge animals that was hidden in the charcoal, showing that indeed "life" was produced.

Caution: Even when the variac is turned to the off position there is still some current flowing. This is why you must unplug the variac before you stick your hand in the tank looking for "life". Otherwise the possibility exists that you may also show how "life" is destroyed - YOUR OWN.
conbot.gif (53 bytes)

References

Stephen L. Gillett, "On Building an Earth-Like Planet," Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact Magazine.

Mail Questions and Comments to: Dale Stille dale-stille@uiowa.edu

Takedowns.... (1)

telstar (236404) | more than 9 years ago | (#12761969)

First takedown, courtesy of Google...
Second takedown, courtesy of Slashdot...

Anybody got a copy of the note?

Why wallpaper is bad and not housing... (1)

MAdMaxOr (834679) | more than 9 years ago | (#12762001)

Google isn't threatened by people creating new services out of maps. If it was up to Google, you could probably do anything you wanted.

However, Google has suppliers. They are very interested in protecting their copyrighted data. They are, as yet, willing to allow modification of the Maps service for things like the housing map, etc. I'm not even sure that their agreement permits them to complain, as it is still Google serving the images.

Creating derivative works of the actual map photos crossed a line with the suppliers.

They violated the TOS (1)

Buzz_Litebeer (539463) | more than 9 years ago | (#12762012)

By stitching and thus changing the images. It is a really neat thing... what would be better is for them to release it as a tool that home users can use for free which would avoid the TOS violation as far as I can tell.

Full Text of Take Down (1)

lxt (724570) | more than 9 years ago | (#12762021)

The site looked like it was about to die a slow and painful death, so here's the notice in full:

"The Google Maps team recently noticed your Google Maps tile "stitcher" to see developers interested in our products and we commend you on the service. That said, we would appreciate it if you voluntarily remove your service and stop using Google Maps on your web site. The service violates the Maps Terms of Service available at http://www.google.com/help/terms_local.html [google.com] , and jeopardizes our ability to make Google Maps available to the public because it encourages non-personal use of Google Maps.

If you have any questions or concerns, or if we have contacted the wrong people, please feel free to contact me directly. Otherwise, amueltc please let us know as soon as possible when the service has been
removed.

Thanks,

Bret Taylor
Product Manager, Google Maps

"

Theme day (1)

JJahn (657100) | more than 9 years ago | (#12762032)

Shouldn't this headline be: "World's First Google Maps Hack Takedown"

Google's Merits (5, Insightful)

ikegami (793066) | more than 9 years ago | (#12762050)

I don't see anyone arguing the merits of Google's action, so I will. From what I can see from the Google cache [66.102.7.104] of the web site, I see that following:

  1. They perform automated queries on Google to get the map pieces in order to produce composite images. (Terms of Service violation)
  2. They produced composite images from Copyrighted material. (Copyright violation)
  3. They hosted (distributed) the composite images made from Copyrighted material. (Copyright violation)

This gives Google good reason to shut down "Google Wallpapers" as it stands. I don't think it Google has any claims against the python script itself, just its users (which includes "Google Wallpapers").

This differs from "Google Sightseeing" and "Chicago Crime" (as far as I know, since I can't verify util the sites are back up), which only link to maps on Google, which means

  1. There are no automated queries. The user must click on the link to view the image.
  2. No derivative product is made. They only provide a link to Google.
  3. No distribution is made. The maps are solely on Google's server.

Google moving to the dark side? (1, Insightful)

shanen (462549) | more than 9 years ago | (#12762053)

Frankly, I've been increasingly suspicious of Google since they decided it was such a neat idea to keep other people's email. That's something with serious opportunities for abuse--and there's no good reason these days. Everyone (who counts) has GBs of disk space and powerful CPUs, and there's no reason that the email couldn't be stored, indexed, and searched on your local machine. Why do they need *MY* email on *THEIR* machines? Something is wrong there.

This new event is something different. It doesn't matter how polite they are about it. They are flexing their muscles, and putting on my historian's hat, power always gets abused. They talk about empowering the little guys and doing good, but when push comes to shove, look who got shoved.

Re:Google moving to the dark side? (1)

Cursive23 (850067) | more than 9 years ago | (#12762104)

Shhhhh, remember where you're posting. This is sloogle (Slashdot was bought by google). You're either pro-google here or automatically labled some tirading pro-microsoft windows fanboy who doesn't understand C++ references in jokes!

Anyone else see a pattern? (1, Interesting)

goldspider (445116) | more than 9 years ago | (#12762055)

Google has website shut down, asserting their intelelctual property rights = reasonable

MPAA has website shut down, asserting their intellectual property rights = Gestapo

Google maps for the UK is shite (2, Informative)

Dominic Burns (673810) | more than 9 years ago | (#12762097)

On two occasions in the last few weeks I've tried to use the point-to-point directions based on post codes.

The information is utterly incorrect and extremely ambiguous.

Take note, fellow UK /.ers, it's an alpha release for us.

In other Google news... (2, Funny)

uberdave (526529) | more than 9 years ago | (#12762125)

Google is releasing a new beta project called Google Posters. With it, you will be able to have large poster sized satellite maps of any point of interest.

They should come to europe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12762134)

In europe "terms of use" for websites are void and google could do nothing.
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