The world on your desktop
“EARTH materialises, rotating majestically in front of his face. Hiro reaches out and grabs it. He twists it around so he's looking at Oregon. Tells it to get rid of the clouds, and it does, giving him a crystalline view of the mountains and the seashore.”
That vision from Neal Stephenson's “Snow Crash”, a science-fiction novel published in 1992, aptly describes Google Earth, a computer program that lets users fly over a detailed photographic map of the world...
“When the coverage is everything and everywhere, there is going to be a big problem,” says Lee Tien, a lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an internet campaign group.