Last year, there was a lot of coverage of Google striking a deal with satellite imagery company GeoEye to be able to use the high resolution images from its new GeoEye-1 satellite for their Google Earth and Maps products. The exclusive deal saw Google shift away from its partnership with rival DigitalGlobe, which provides many of Google’s rivals with imagery. Now, it looks like Google is back on board with a new DigitalGlobe satellite.
In a post today on its Lat Long Blog, Google reveals that DigitalGlobe has just launched their next-generation satellite dubbed WorldView-2 (no idea if this is to one-up GeoEye-1), and that the company will be getting new imagery from it. In the post, Google notes that it works “directly with several commercial satellite imaging providers.” Presumably, that means the deal with GeoEye is still in place, and now Google has found itself on yet another state-of-the-art satellite that peers down on all of us, gathering data.
Now, the government has regulations on just how closely Google and these companies can look (mostly because the government itself wants to be the only ones that can see really, really close up on us). But still, this is starting to get mildly creepy. I’d love to know how many satellites they are using up there to get their imagery.
It was recently revealed that Google was breaking away from TeleAtlas as the provider of its mapping data in the U.S. (though it is supposedly still using it for some other parts of the world). One reason they can do that is because they now have so much data from this satellite imagery (as well as their Street View imagery).
Is it tin hat time yet?