What do Google Maps and police detectives have in common?
According to news reports, twin brothers who mugged a teenager in the Dutch town of Groningen last September were arrested recently after being caught on camera by a car gathering images for Google’s online photo map service.
Apparently, a picture taken moments before the crime captured the victim and his two assailants, who stole the 14-year-old boy’s cellphone and 165 euros ($250) in cash.
The victim recognized himself and the robbers while browsing Google Maps’ “Street View” feature, which delivers images taken by a camera mounted on a car.
After a police investigation, one of the 24-year-old twins confessed to robbing the boy. That’s some good police work, Inspector Google.
Not only is Google good at catching criminals, it also has a pretty solid sense of humour, as evidenced by the top-5 “Google bombs” of all time. (For the uninitiated, these were — and in some cases still are — amusing search results delivered after hitting Google’s “I’m feeling lucky” button:
1. “Miserable failure” brought up a George W. Bush biography.
2. “Dangerous cult” yielded the Scientology home page.
3. “McDonald’s” pointed to the movie “Supersize Me”.
4. “Find Chuck Norris” still delivers nochucknorris.com, which resembles a Google page, but with the following text: Google won’t search for Chuck Norris because it knows you don’t find Chuck Norris, he finds you. Suggestions: Run, before he finds you; try a different person.
5. In the first four days of July after the second Iraq War began on March 20, 2003, entering “weapons of mass destruction” returned a 404 error, now archived as “These Weapons of Mass Destruction cannot be displayed.”
Why Garfield is a dirty animal
If you’re worried about impressionable youngsters stumbling upon online images of Garfield and roast pork, look no further than China’s new government-mandated Internet filter.
As of July 1, Beijing has ordered that all new PCs in China come with preinstalled “Green Dam” software, which is designed to block pornographic and violent images.
But according to news reports, a trial of the program (available for free download at www.skycn.com/soft/46657.html) suggested its filters may not be particularly useful to worried parents.
The workings of the software have not been revealed by the Chinese government, but IT experts have said Green Dam likely uses colour and form recognition to zoom in on potential expanses of naked flesh.
However, this means that when the software is installed and an image scanner activated, it blocks even harmless images of a film poster for cartoon cat Garfield, dishes of flesh-color cooked pork and on one search engine a close-up of film star Johnny Depp’s face.
Who knew Garfield was such a dirty animal?