In times past, marooned mariners might spell out “SOS” in rocks or sticks on a beach, hoping that their message might be spotted by a passing schooner. These days it’s all a bit more high-tech, and a lot more pointless. People with too much time on their hands have begun anticipating the flybys of Google’s flying eye - the aerial photography process that feeds updated geographic imagery into Google Maps - and have begun providing “content”.
A few dozen large sheets of cardboard or bin liners, rocks to stop them blowing away, a few friends (or, perhaps more likely, a bit of time on your own) is all that’s required to lay out a pixellated scene from Star Wars across your local park.
Of course like all innocent technological innovations, the time of childlike delight in the newly possible will be short-lived. Before long Google will be forced to blur out profanities spelled out in weedkiller on waste ground, while the hawking messages of aerial photo spammers will turn the roofs of abandoned warehouses into prime advertising real estate.
Sneak, for one, is planning pre-emptive action. Tonight Sneak will be visiting his roof with a pot of paint. The message: “These tiles are Copyright 2007 Sneak. No reproduction without permission.” Then let’s see how Google reacts to the writ...
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