>One thing that I absolutely love is Google Maps. I use it every day at work. And the Street View images are great because now I can see a building or piece of property without having to actually go to it. From the comfort of my cube, I can drive down the streets of Fair Oaks, Midtown and Modesto all within 10 minutes. Of course, like most of my past dates, the information isn’t very reliable from time to time.
Today I was researching a building down in Stockton and the satellite image on Google Maps clearly showed a large building with many vehicles parked around it. I clicked on the little orange Street View man to see if there was any signage and it showed me an image of the building under construction.
This struck me as odd. Not many buildings have been under construction since 2009 what with the economy crapping out and all. I checked my records and it said that this particular building was built in 1998. That means that the photo on Google Street View is 13 years old.
There is no way that’s correct. Either the year built in my records is wrong (which is entirely possible) or Google was out taking photos way before 2007 which was when they introduced the service in the U.S. Seems like it’s been around longer than just 4 years, but definitely not 13.
While trying to solve this mystery, I tried to find out how often Google updates their Street View photos. According to this thread in the Google Maps Help Forum, in which a question was asked back in 2009 about when the pictures were taken, an employee answered that they were taken within the last year. The person was vague about the information being updated.
It doesn’t seem like buildings change much, but think about how many businesses have gone under and how much construction was completed since 2008. The thing about information is that it gets old faster than a piece of bread on a kitchen counter. If it’s not updated regularly, it gets stale and people stop using it.
While I still enjoy Google Street View and will continue to use it, it will be with a grain of salt and the fact that nothing will be a perfect substitute for actually driving down the street.