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Apple Campus Missing From MSN Earth 413

Posted by timothy
from the take-a-memo-take-a-joke dept.
webguru4god writes "The Register has an article detailing a significant omission from Microsoft's new Virtual Earth application. Apparently the satellite image view of 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino, CA shows a large empty lot, whereas Google Maps shows the sprawling Apple campus. Hmmm, I wonder if the Google campus is missing too?"
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Apple Campus Missing From MSN Earth

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  • It's just an old map (Score:5, Informative)

    by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Monday July 25, 2005 @05:09PM (#13160014) Homepage Journal
    The Microsoft picture is from pre-1994 as County Highway 85 does not exist south of Steven Creek Blvd. This part of the highway was opened in 1994. If you look closely, you can see that most of the land for the highway has been cleared, but none of it is paved.

    Before Apple, the campus was the HQ of the now-defunct Four Phase Systems. The buidling was sufficiently damaged in the earthquake on 17 Oct 1989, that it was abandoned and eventually razed.

    So much for conspiracy theories.
    • Interesting / amusing, however, that M$ uses 11 year old pictures for its maps. At least if it's a conspiracy they're a full decade behind on their grand master plan.
      • Steal someone's idea, and do a halfassed job...

        I'm sure it's not on purpose, it's just the way MS does things.
        I've also read in the Register that the Twin Towers from WTC are still there.
        I mean, wouldn't one of the beta testers check for that?

      • by Mundocani (99058) on Monday July 25, 2005 @05:29PM (#13160219)
        I live about 10 miles or so from the Apple campus and Microsoft's imagery of my neighborhood is suprisingly up-to-date. On Google, the strip mall next door still exists and my old garage is still standing, making those images 5 to 10 years old. In Microsoft's images the strip mall has been replaced by the current small commercial complex and condos and my new garage with solar panels is clearly visible.

        I find it amusing that in the span of ten miles in a dense urban/suburban area they could both have such vastly different images. Google has current images for Apple's campus and Microsoft has old images. Google has old images for my neighborhood and Microsoft has current images. Makes me want to start searching for the seam between modern and 10 years old just to see if they try to blend them or just have a gross cut between them.

        (and no, I'm not going to post my home address for people to compare images. I'm just too paranoid to do that :)
        • by Killer Instinct (851436) on Monday July 25, 2005 @05:43PM (#13160351) Journal
          In Microsoft's images the strip mall has been replaced by the current small commercial complex and condos and my new garage with solar panels is clearly visible.
          ...
          (and no, I'm not going to post my home address for people to compare images. I'm just too paranoid to do that :)


          I guess the solar panels on your new garage arent a dead give away....
        • by cbreaker (561297) on Monday July 25, 2005 @05:48PM (#13160394) Journal
          Google maps uses a blending/fade from one set of images to another. My area is full of these seams - they line up pretty good but some of them show views during the summer and others were taken in the winter or fall time.

          Terraserver, when they went from simply demonstrating the capabilities of SQL7 to actually maintaining it, they added new images. When they did this, they basically just plopped them in - there's obvious cuts in the map where the two sets line up. I haven't used the MSN images thing yet but when I used Terraserver back in '99 it was all black and white. They may have improved it since then.

          The images look great in color on Google maps though, especially the summertime sets.
          • A lot of the Terraserver stuff is still black and white, but actually the color stuff they have looks a lot better then some similar Google stuff. Take a look at Washington DC and zoom in all the way on both. You can see individual air conditioning unit on buildings with Microsoft. Even NSA headquarters in Ft Meade, MD is so clear on the Microsoft one I can tell what each make of car in the parking lot is....actually you can even see...wait, is that....
        • Makes me want to start searching for the seam between modern and 10 years old just to see if they try to blend them or just have a gross cut between them

          Well, I'm not sure on the dates of these, but here's a very obvious seam between black & white and color data (just a few miles from the Apple campus)

          http://virtualearth.msn.com/default.aspx?cp=37.32 8 429 [msn.com]|-122.005218&style=a&lvl=17&v=1
      • Not all the pictures are 11 years old. The Microsoft campus pictures look pretty current. Building 33 and its new behemoth neighbor, the new offramp at 40th, and even the transit center off 156th. I'd say the pictures of Microsoft aren't more than a few years old at most. Still can't find building 7 though.
      • TerraServer Data (Score:5, Insightful)

        by wireloose (759042) on Monday July 25, 2005 @05:34PM (#13160272)
        TerraServer's web satellite imagery server came out in the late 90's, with all the early 90's imagery from the USGS. The interface was similar to both of these map sites. And then Microsoft bought and took over TerraServer a year or so later. So, that's probably what's here. Rather than spend time getting data sources updated, perhaps they spent time rewriting all the image server software in .NET.

        Seriously, though, Microsoft did the usual overkill, attempting to put too much into the user interface. Hence odd mouse controls, unnecessary zomming animation when a simple quick redraw at the new zoom level is preferred, etc.. More time spent on glitz than substance.
        • by koko775 (617640) on Monday July 25, 2005 @07:05PM (#13160956)
          I don't understand this elitism or prejudice against features just because it's Microsoft. The zooming was a feature i'd like to see in Google Maps, since i don't have to reload the map every step of the way. And the mouse controls -- odd? How? They were nice touches to a typical user like me.
      • Not always Malicious (Score:4, Interesting)

        by purduephotog (218304) <.hirsch. .at. .inorbit.com.> on Tuesday July 26, 2005 @07:39AM (#13163844) Homepage Journal
        Eastman Kodak Company is 'deleted' from Google Maps. If you look you'll see that the entire park region and all buildings associated with it are 'gone'. All the imagery shows is the 30 meter resolution which is enough to tell you 'something brown' is present.

        Why? Your guess is as good as mine, but we do have loads of chemicals in the plant. And seeing as they used to partner with the company that did the imagery, I can see some reasons why.

        You'll also notice that the syracuse airport and the Rochester airport are both missing as well. The buffalo airport is present, as well as JFK.

        Conspiracy to protect our softer targets? You decide.
    • Exactly (Score:2, Funny)

      by sterno (16320)
      If you look at the area around the apple head quarters you can see a lot of undeveloped areas. There's a bunch of roads to the north which look like a housing development. In the MSN map, it's dirt, in the google map it's a bunch of houses.

      So MSN's map service sucks apparently :)
    • I don't think anyone thinks it is a conspiracy. It's just really amusing to see that MSN's Virtual Earth is apparently using images that are over ten years old.
      • It's not like, super cheap, or easy to get high resolution, cloud-free shots of the Earth. At MSN's Virtual Earth's highest resolution, it the pictures are clearly taken by a plane, not a satellite (a LandSat or similar image would never have the resolving power to detect the hedge in my front yard). The USGS just doesn't do that crap everyday. Or rather they do, but it's a big country to take such large scale images of. I'm not surprised some images are years out of date.

        On Google Maps, the highest resol

      • Funny you find that amusing, when Virtual "Earth" actually just cover USA in any special resolution.

        I find that far stranger than a bit old images. :-/
    • So maybe it's no conspiracy, but it does mean that Microsoft is using ancient, shitty image sets for MSN Earth.
    • You people are SO paranoid! There is really nothing going on here other than the fact that MSN's aerial pics have been out of date for quite some time, many go back to the 80's and early 90's. That's about it, guys.

    • by RonnyJ (651856) on Monday July 25, 2005 @05:18PM (#13160108)
      The Register article even later points out that MSN have photos still showing the WTC (pre-9/11) - obviously old photos. Still, it doesn't stop them (and /.) having a sensationalist headline.
      • I perceived this whole article as a sort of parody of conspiracy theories, not an actual attempt to rile up the fan boys. But I guess it is hard to tell, with /. being what it is. Looking at the rest of the comments though, at least some people took it as a joke.
      • by gryphokk (648488)
        Interestingly enough, the Oklahoma data is relatively recent, about 1.5-2 yrs old.

        You can see the Oklahoma Memorial, where the Murrah Building stood until 1995. The memorial was created in roughly 1997-98, considerably later the the Apple campus. Also visible downtown is a new library built in ±2003. Not shown is the new federal building built in ±2004 to replace the Murrah building.
    • Real story .... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by taniwha (70410) on Monday July 25, 2005 @05:20PM (#13160123) Homepage Journal
      I completely agree - the real headline should be something like "Microsoft Virtual Earth Horribly out of Date"
    • It's completely obvious that the picture is older. Even the neighborhood right north of them is a piece of barren earth but finished homes on Google.

      Slashdot should move this article off the front page.
    • by vought (160908) on Monday July 25, 2005 @07:33PM (#13161156)
      Just a nit:

      Apple's "sprawling" campus is actually quite a bit smaller than it used to be. The buildings in the Santa Clara Valley are now clustered around the intersection of Mariani St. and De Anza Blvd.

      Instead of maintaining satellite buildings like customer service in Campbell and the printer and imaging group located in Sunnyvale, Apple pulled everything within a three-block radius of 1 Infinite Loop between 1996 and 1998. Just that single move seemed to wonders for corporate communications, although it was well underway when Steve came home.

      Compared to many other large tech companies in the valley, Apple's "campus" is relatively small, but tightly integrated. For example, not only is there an excellent restaraunt in place of the old "Cafe Macs", but there is a relatively decent brew pub with a cute name in the parking lot and another beer/TV joint across the street.
  • What's new? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BWJones (18351) * on Monday July 25, 2005 @05:09PM (#13160016) Homepage Journal
    Like anything else in the technology world, Microsoft is behind the times a bit eh? :-) Either that, or Apple is testing a new version of their Reality Distortion Field that possesses visual enhancements on an entirely new level. I always knew that Apple has some great technology.

    Seriously though, Microsoft's effort is still in development and what mattered to them was not the data per se, but the codebase behind the data as Microsoft is not interested (historically) in providing people with data or resources as much as they are interested in making money. Once the infrastructure is in place, Microsoft will wrap their map technology into other bits of software to sell GIS functionality in their handheld OS and other applications. It is an entirely different way of business than Google's model which wants to deliver information to people and make their product easy to use and informative even during development. They are smart enough to realize this approach builds a customer base much more effectively than if they were to get access to free, or almost free (and therefore less useful) data with which to populate their databases. It is an investment that has paid off along with their easy to use and intuitive interfaces deliver.

    • Apple has developed noship technology?!?!
    • Apple is testing a new version of their Reality Distortion Field that possesses visual enhancements on an entirely new level. I always knew that Apple has some great technology.

      Yeah, clearly Apple's headquarters is protected by a cloaking device recovered from the lost city of the Ancients [gateworld.net], probably to guard against industrial espionage.

    • ...Microsoft is not interested (historically) in providing people with data or resources as much as they are interested in making money.

      So let me guess, I'm going to have to purchase Virtual Earth SP1 to get the up to date maps. If I want maps from 1994 I can use the free ones, but to get current stuff I'll have to buy the service pack. Sounds like a typical Microsoft revenue model to me.
  • I estimate: 1989 (Score:5, Informative)

    by seanadams.com (463190) * on Monday July 25, 2005 @05:09PM (#13160017) Homepage
    Apple opened 1 Infinite Loop in 1991 - I remember the building went up very quickly but I don't think it took less than 2 yrs. Highway 85 from 280 to down to 101 opened in 1994 - major sections of it were paved and complete for almost a year before it opened though. If you zoom in on the area around Rainbow Drive you can see some sport where they've barely begun excavation - I think it was around 1987 when they "eminent domained" the last few nearby properties out of there.

    Scrolling around the map you can also see some condo complexes completely missing, which were build around that time.

    Based on these landmarks (and more) you can tell that MSN's data for cupertino and its surrounding area is over 15 years old! Pitiful!
  • Hmm... could it possibly just be an old photo, seeing as there are constuction portables in the northeast corner and a now-nonexistant building in the south of the lot?
  • This is a really interesting map. It's also missing the houses of everyone who was mean to Bill Gates in high school. The FSF headquarters have been replaced with a pirate ship, OSDL is replaced with an image of a black hole, and there's real time tracking of Linus Torvalds' location with a bullseye symbol.

    - G

    • This is a really interesting map. It's also missing the houses of everyone who was mean to Bill Gates in high school. The FSF headquarters have been replaced with a pirate ship, OSDL is replaced with an image of a black hole,

      and there's real time tracking of Linus Torvalds' location with a bullseye symbol.

      Wow! Thank Goodness that Mycroft isn't a friend of Bill's. Although, if it shows Mr. Gate's home, I'm sure I could talk Mike into letting me use Little David's Sling for a few minutes.

  • by garcia (6573) * on Monday July 25, 2005 @05:10PM (#13160023) Homepage
    I know that most of you don't run IE but for those of us that do, Apple's HQ didn't appear as an empty lot, instead it looked like a fiery inferno with Jobs sitting on a throne of iPods!

    I tried to find Google's campus on the map but all I could find was a serpent and a tree holding the most succulent fruit. Strange, I didn't think that their campus looked anything like that...

    Microsoft's HQ, OTOH, was the Garden of Eden with little rabbits and naked nymphs running around. Bill was sitting there laughing because another person bought a copy of Windows and the fire grew brighter where Apple's HQ was supposed to be.

    I was thinking God, I really need to switch to another browser, these exploits are of Biblical proportions and then I watched as Bill reached out from MSN Maps, grabbed me by the throat and said, "THEY AREN'T EXPLOITS!"

    Scary!
  • Down boy, Down! (Score:2, Informative)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) *
    I'm afraid that Microsoft didn't "delete" Apple, they just used data that's older than they are. My understanding is that Microsoft is using the USGS [usgs.gov] Topographical data, which tends to get updated whenever the USGS feels like it. Google, OTOH, uses proprietary data which is only a couple of years out of date (as opposed to decades).

    Nice conspiracy theory guys, but I'm afraid that the Register is just having fun getting you all worked up. :-)
  • older pics? (Score:3, Funny)

    by ginotech (816751) on Monday July 25, 2005 @05:10PM (#13160030)
    Nothing for you to see here. Please move along.
    How suiting...Anyway, aren't the MSN pics pretty old compared to google's anyway?
  • by silentbozo (542534) on Monday July 25, 2005 @05:10PM (#13160033) Journal
    Dangit, I told Bill not to outsource this project to those workers from that alternate universe!
  • For the lazy... (Score:5, Informative)

    by op12 (830015) on Monday July 25, 2005 @05:10PM (#13160043) Homepage
    MSN's map [msn.com]
    Google's Map [google.com]
  • I wonder whats next...
  • by TiggertheMad (556308) on Monday July 25, 2005 @05:11PM (#13160048) Homepage Journal
    "Apple's campus missing? I had not scheduled phase 3 of the plant to begin until November. SMITHERS, you idiot, we have tipped our hand again!"
  • Grass (Score:2, Interesting)

    by novadragoon (746815)
    Why doesn't the apple campus have those lawns in the center shaped like apples?
  • My theory is that this wasn't done on purpose, but it demonstrates that Google's sources are more "up to date" than Microsoft's.

    As least, I hope so. Either way, it only erodes any kind of trust I'd have in a Microsoft solution for encyclopedias, maps, and so on. If they did it on purpose, then why should I trust them for anything? And if done in ignorance - then that means that their competitor has more accurate information.

    Either way, it doesn't make Microsoft look good. Which, in a weird way, I almost feel bad about. I'd love to see Google with a real competitor if only because I like seeing competition, because it usually benefits me (the customer (but not consumer)) - but if Microsoft is only going to make a half-assed shot at it, then they may as well stay out of the game.

    Of course, this is just my opinion. I could be wrong.
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Monday July 25, 2005 @05:13PM (#13160064)
    Whenever I look at maps from Google Earth, I see they've laser-etched "Google" all over the Earth's surface from space. I mean, they even charred my roof with the upper part of the L ferchrissake!
  • by Old VMS Junkie (739626) on Monday July 25, 2005 @05:13PM (#13160074)
    If Microsoft deleted Apple, it's an evil conspiracy. If someone else deleted Microsoft (C'mon Google! DOOOOO EEEEEET!) it'd be funny. Just 'cause Billy is a Borg doesn't mean that everyone at Microsoft is humorless.
  • "Microsoft's Earth deletes Apple HQ"

    "Even more disturbing MSN's Virtual Earth still shows the twin towers of the World Trade Center in all their pre-9/11 glory."


    Gee, I wonder if there's a relationship here... :-p

    The Register sure have some l337 journalist and conclusion skillz.

    They lie too, because AFAIK, they have no evidence Microsoft have "deleted" anything. A very strange choice of words if it's about looking on an outdated map.
  • ...the World Trade Center is still looming over Manhattan.

    OK, I know they were panicked about Google Earth etc, but couldn't they have paid for better, more recent imagery?

    Compared to Google Maps, this seems like a particularly half-assed effort.

    m-
  • by masonbrown (208074) on Monday July 25, 2005 @05:19PM (#13160116) Homepage
    Hmmm, I wonder if the Google campus is missing too?

    Google now occupies the SGI Shoreline campus. Not sure when that was built though.....
    • 1998 or so (Score:5, Interesting)

      by green pizza (159161) on Monday July 25, 2005 @06:10PM (#13160578) Homepage
      Google now occupies the SGI Shoreline campus. Not sure when that was built though.....
      Google indeed occupies the four funky looking fromer Silicon Graphics Inc buildings on Shoreline Drive. These were built in the late 1990s. Right across the street to the south is the former home of Adobe (and occupied by Sun at one time too). SGI's first funky looking building is right off of 101 and was built in 1995, it's now home of the Computer History Museum. At one time SGI had almost 20 buildings in that area, some built in the early 1980s. SGI now lives in three newer buildings a few blocks away on Crittenden Drive built in about 2002. The whole shoreline area is a mix of buildings ranging from 1 to 25 years old.
  • Just ancient. MSN shows a detailed photo of my city from probably 20+ years ago, while Google shows a very low resolution, but recent photo.
  • Google is there (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Percent Man (756972) on Monday July 25, 2005 @05:21PM (#13160144) Homepage
    "I wonder if the Google campus is missing too?"

    As kevcol [slashdot.org] pointed out, you can clearly see their campus [catatonic.org] - in fact, arguably it's more clear that Google's own version [catatonic.org] of the same spot.
  • OSDL is missing
    There is a weird penquin shaped part out of Finland
    The Netherlands (will follow in about a year, they are always a year behind).
  • by MontyP (26575) on Monday July 25, 2005 @05:22PM (#13160162)
    I found that MSN Virtual Earth fails to register your mouse button release. If you leave the map area with your mouse button clicked

    ex:
    Moving your cursor to the Tool bar in Mozilla/Firefox
    Or to a different monitor if you are using IE...

    When you return your cursor to the map, it will move without having to click your mouse...

    Sweet.
  • by 4of12 (97621) on Monday July 25, 2005 @05:23PM (#13160167) Homepage Journal

    Steve Jobs's penchant for high absorptivity wardrobe combined with his obsession for personal privacy probably explains why MS sees nothing.

  • wasn't a while ago that if u search "search engines" on MSN, google.com is not even in Top 5 ?
  • by LesPaul75 (571752) on Monday July 25, 2005 @05:27PM (#13160204) Journal
    Wow, I just tried out the MSN maps thing for the first time, and I gotta say, it kicks ass! The way you can click-and-drag the map around is spectacular. And the way you can switch between the satellite view and the regular map is sweeeeeet!! Holy cow, you can even search for local businesses right on the map! WOW! Try it out -- just type in anything, like "hotels near lax" or "pizza" and prepare to be amazed!

    See people, you guys badmouth Microsoft all the time, but these guys obviously know how to innovate! All you slashdot trolls just got PWNED by Microsoft, baby. WOOT!!1

    </sarcasm>
  • by mabu (178417) on Monday July 25, 2005 @05:27PM (#13160207)
    to hold stories of this nature, which wildly jump to erroneous conclusions.

    Microsoft was apparently too cheap to purchase more recent satellite imagery so they got old, crappy data. Google's is more recent.

    Nothing here to see folks except a few people with short attention spans that don't do adequate research.

    The mods are to be blamed for this. Just today I had a story rejected that had more information than the one published, but it wasn't as pointed in its title.
  • Now for Area 51... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    And it is a great empty box on MSN. But you can find it on MSN Virtual Earth at Groom, NV [msn.com] which isn't available from Google. But Google has a much better sat photo here [google.com], easily found just west of Alamo, NV. Oh, wait, that isn't there.
    • That's because Area 51 is restricted air space.. A NO FLY ZONE, you can't take aerial photographs if you can't fly over it. Google uses a Satellite so they can take pictures of everything :)
  • You haven't even seen Google's Mr-Burns-like plans to turn day into night and force everyone to live by the bright white screen of google! You can see the shocking progress here [google.com] as they begin thier sweep of the less populated parts of California!
  • The fact that MSN's database is older (and less colorful!) than Google's is interesting. But more interesting is the arms race this is generating. Has anyone noticed that Google Maps now has a "hybrid" view in addition to the "map" and "satellite" option? As far as I can tell, this was implemented within the last couple of days (based on the last time I remember using google maps). I suspect that they had this feature ready a while ago, and released it now because of the recent release of Microsoft's Virtua
  • "microsoft in redmond, washington" didn't work, but once I looked it up on MSN I was able to find the same spot in Google Maps... the closest hit was "MSNBC on the Internet".

    Priorities, gentlemen.
  • http://tinyurl.com/8k3cn [tinyurl.com]

    (Yes, this tinyurl really *is* a Google Maps URL, not anything heinous. Guaranteed safe for work.)
  • It is like i always thought. MS products are for entertainment purposes only, and nothing is warranted to be of any use, or usefulness, whatsoever. Nothing is guaranteed to be defect free or suitable to the purpose for which it is advertised. Do not use the information provided for any purpose other than play time. No effort has been made to insure anything is valid.

    I mean really, with all that money MS could not afford current photographs? Do we need anymore evidence that MS cannot innovate at all.

  • MSN doesn't show Groom Lake. Google does but I suspect this is because MSN is using more flyover photography when you zoom in.

    Or it could be that they can claim they are trying to obey the US Govt. Maybe they had a picture of a Flying Saucer :)
  • What if MSN only gave results from webpages in 1990.
    Ancient maps are pretty much useless for this perpose. (except maybe for nostalgia)
  • Is there a way to moderate the story that is posted? Not the comments, the actual stories?

    This one should be moded down in some harsh way. Next thing you know they will post a story about gas prices going up or down or something.
  • by joeflies (529536) on Monday July 25, 2005 @05:46PM (#13160375)
    The data of the same picture states that it was taken October 30, 1991 [microsoft.com]
  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Monday July 25, 2005 @06:07PM (#13160548) Homepage Journal
    ignore the large complex of buildings you see before you, they are not on MSFT's radar ... or Google's ...

  • by The OPTiCIAN (8190) on Monday July 25, 2005 @06:47PM (#13160837)
    Of course, Australia is missing from the Microsoft maps as well but somehow that seems less notable than... a couple of acres on the west coast of the US?
  • by InvaderSkoodge (858660) on Monday July 25, 2005 @07:40PM (#13161212)
    Obviously, the MSN earth server didn't like the concept of drawing an infinite loop.
  • by WareW01f (18905) on Monday July 25, 2005 @10:17PM (#13162126)
    Of course MSN [msn.com] gets you a much better view than Google [google.com]. I mean come on, where do you think your boss would look first?

    Still I'll admit that I Googled [google.com] for the address and got a hit without even having to drill down!

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