I was recently sent an email with a link to an address in South Co. Dublin and I noted that the clarity of the photos used had much improved on previous versions. Google have obviously recently updated the photos - so I decided to look at my own house:
My house is the one in the middle with the conservatory at the back. In the back garden you can see a dinghy that we kept there for the winter - it belongs to my brother-in-law and is now thankfully gone since June. Out front you can just about see Roma's Honda CRV in the driveway, Claire's silver Citroen C3 is clearly visible in front of Jack's house next door, while my (and Kate's!) red VW Golf is also visible parked outside the house.
I don't have any privacy hang-ups about putting a picture of my house on the web . My address is easy to find in the Dublin telephone book and in the on-line version. I'd guess that anyone with even basic IT skills could find it in minutes - so what's the point in trying to hide it, or deny that it exists? This photo was taken probably during April/May this year - so would be burglers are already too late.
This type of content publication on-line is not for everybody - lot's of people have legitimate privacy concerns. Even if a burgler cannot use it for a real-time "casing" of a house, he can check things like walls, fences, getaway paths, and so on. They can probably even use Google Maps to tag maps to tick off houses that they have already "done", and create a list for an accomplice for what's left.
Google is getting more fascinating for me almost every day. Earlier today I added a graphic of my Harley-Davidson as a background to my Google Calendar, from my free Google Sites Page. Long live innovation at Google!
From a learning point of view, Google Maps must be ideal for students of geography - especially Ordinance Survey. Even when you want to find your way around, Google Maps (which I also have on my iPhone) is just as good as GPS. Expect a lot more location-based services like advertising and marketing to happen in the next year or so.
There is no hiding place any more!