In a recent CNET article “Why isn’t Beirut burning in Google Earth?” the author points out that in Google Earth, the skies over Beirut are clear, the grass is green and the buildings are standing. The article goes on to say that according to a Google spokesperson, the images come from Digital Globe and are updated, on average, every year to 18 months.
According to one comment, it’s at least 30 months since Google has updated their neighbourhood in Google Earth. On the Google Earth website questions and answers section it states: “Google Earth acquires the best imagery available, most of which is approximately one to three years old.”
Since Google’s search and other products and services seem to be real time, why wouldn’t we expect Google Earth results in real time? Are we expecting too much — I believe so. I’m just happy for services like Google Earth and look forward to the day when the entire planet is covered. Obviously, the first information to be real time for Google Earth and similar services will be related to traffic in urban communities in Asia, Western Europe and North America, where GPS and personal navigation markets are growing fastest.
While Google, is one of the top aggregators for text based news, it is hardly a top source for visual news. CNET should be careful for what it’s wishing for.