I'm always glad when Google opens up a little more, and this is an important article. In this case, we're talking about an project with the internal codename of Ground Truth. A few important bits worth thinking about:
- the idea of building up a digital representation of the real world, how Street View helps with that, and what that digital map unlocks.
- how much data is involved, and how Google has made advances in technology (e.g. automatic matching of signs/logos) and then melds that with a massive number of improvements from humans both inside and outside of Google.
- how all this data processing is exactly the sort of engineering feat that Google is good at. Making maps is hard, and making really good maps is really hard.

I got a chance to see some of this operation not too long ago, and it's quite impressive.
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