[ Update: Google denies the report. ]
Over at the Telstar Logistics blog, BB pal Todd Lappin points to a a German news report that Google has purchased small UAV "microdrone" aircraft manufactured by Germany's microdrone GmbH, perhaps for use to augment the company's Street View mapping data. From the cited report:
Todd's take: "Skepticism is warranted, and outrage is probably premature." His post is worth a read, and includes some interesting (and creepy) video of the drones in action.
The UAVs being flogged are mini helicopters with cameras attached that can be flown about all over the place. They're quiet and resemble sci-fi UFOs for the vertically challenged alien. They can fly up to 80km per hour, so Microdrone CEO Sven Juerss suggests they'll be brilliant for mapping entire neighbourhoods really quickly and relatively cheaply.
Even before Google started data mining on open web networks its Street View operations were controversial, with Google Maps picking up on people who didn't exactly want their faces plastered all over the internet. With the kind of high-angle aerial shots this sort of kit can achieve, it boggles the mind as to the sort of images that may be accidentally captured.
Sent from James' iPhone