[LINK] RIP Google Maps Contour Feature

Roger Clarke Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Tue May 4 21:15:02 AEST 2010

I'm a fairly frequent user of Google Maps (particularly for walking 
in Australian, Swiss, Austrian and Italian mountains).

But my time left using Google Maps may be even shorter than my time 
left doing 1000m walks.  So it looks like I need to go looking for an 

And I'm a realist:  there aren't any at this stage that are anywhere 
near as good.  (Even though all they're doing is cleverly processing 
obscure-looking national data and cleverly displaying the results in 
accessible formats).

Why is my time up?

Because Google has just withdrawn the valuable Contours feature.

They've replaced it with Earth, sold as '3D'.

(So we need goggles to go with our Google viewing now??).

But of course that sucks you in ('bait and switch', as the Yanks say).

It requires you to download software which does who-knows-what.

And I'd have to delve deeply into various places to try to work out 
what the terms and the privacy policies are, and what they mean;  and 
I'd have to monitor them as well;  and I expect that I wouldn't end 
up liking what I found.  (I've got all the tools I need at my 
disposal, so I'm well set up to do the analysis;  but this becomes 
very boring after a while).

As demonstrated by recent posts from multiple sources, Facebook has 
been, well, almost bare-Faced in the trickery it's prepared to use to 
exploit its users' data.

To be fair, Google's practices aren't quite as pernicious as Facebook's.

But there's more than enough evidence to support an extension of 
Google's own proposition that 'Google knows a lot about you ...' to 
include '... and Google intends knowing even more'.

Roger Clarke                                 http://www.rogerclarke.com/

Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd      78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
                    Tel: +61 2 6288 1472, and 6288 6916
mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au                http://www.xamax.com.au/

Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre      Uni of NSW
Visiting Professor in Computer Science    Australian National University

More information about the Link mailing list