Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Bird's Eye Article Popularity

Over on All Points Blog, they consider why a NY Times article on Google Earth was the most emailed on the site for a couple of days,

I think the reason is very simple- people have been unaware of the existence of high quality commercial satellite imagery and aerial photography. The only thing Google can be accused of is lowering the price, making it easier to use, and publicizing it to the point where uninformed people in positions of power can begin to make themselves look foolish in the press. The headline on the article, "Governments Tremble at Google's Bird's-Eye View" is an alarmist overstatement (given that there was no evidence of trembling presented) that colors the perception of the reader, making something out of very little.

It reminds me of the situations that occured when various governmental organizations began putting public records online. A lot of people were uncomfortable with what was considered public record (how much they paid for their house, how much money they gave to political candidates, etc.) and the fact that you could click to it from the comfort of your home instead of waiting in line at some county office somehow made it newsworthy.