Zoom In on This

Physician's Money Digest, August 2005, Volume 12, Issue 12

Too close for comfort:

The next time you're picking the perfecthotel to accommodate your vacation,stop by Google and check out the searchengine's satellite maps (http://maps.google.com). By simply clicking on a button,you'll be able to retrieve a close-upsatellite image of the hotel, which you canthen use to determine if it's a suitable distancefrom the beach or local shops andboutiques. The satellite technology is partof a package that Google received when itacquired Keyhole Corp in late 2004.Prior to the deal, the digital mapmaker'scustomers included such governmentagencies as the CIA. If the idea of having satellite imagesof your home address available on theInternet unsettles you, there's comfort tobe found. Don't expect to see yourself onfilm or be able to read license plates. Inaddition, the images are usually between6 and 12 months old. Right now themaps only cover half the United Statesand don't include a fee. However, sinceGoogle says this is only a test run, thingsare likely to change soon.