Google To Be Sued By Belgian Military

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Images of military sites are not being blurred, but on the plus side users can check out Google’s garage birthplace

Google is to face legal action from Belgium because the search engine giant is not blurring satellite images of sensitive military bases.

According to Reuters, the Belgian defence ministry will sue Google for not complying with its requests to blur satellite images of sensitive military sites, a ministry spokeswoman said on Friday.

It comes as Google celebrates its 20 birthday by offering users a Streetview virtual tour of Susan Wojcicki’s Menlo Park garage, where the search engine was founded back on 27 September 1998.

Angry Belgians

But not everyone is celebrating 20 years of Google, after the Belgian defence ministry has lost patience with the company.

It had demanded that Google’s satellite mapping service obscure images of sites such as air bases and nuclear power stations on national security grounds.

“The Ministry of Defence will sue Google,” the spokeswoman told Reuters, without giving further details.

It is understood that Google in the past has complied with similar requests from other governments over concerns its geomapping and granular street-level views could compromise security.

The firm did not immediately respond to Reuters about the matter.

Google garage

Meanwhile for some tech veterans it is hard to believe that Google has been going for twenty years now.

The search engine giant was actually incorporated on 4 September 1998, but it has always celebrated its birthday on 27th September as its official birthday.

The Streetview tour of Susan Wojcicki’s Menlo Park garage, where Larry Page and Sergey Brin set up the first Google office, offers an insight to the early days of the firm.

Google actually still owns this property and users can take a virtual tour of the entire house.

The garage itself has been painstakingly recreated to look as it did in 1998, complete with old school desktop PCs and clunky CRT video monitors.

There is even a secret door where users can see Google’s first ever office that includes a whiteboard displaying whether to call the company ‘Google’ or ‘Google!’.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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