StreetView Glitch In The Matrix
February 1, 2013 8:00 PM   Subscribe

Ahhh. My wife was trouncing around Google Street View in Brooklyn and noticed this totally weird building that has 'Google' inscribed over the doorway in a very post-production sort of way. What is it?
posted by zackola to Technology (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It looks like the same watermark that's all over the place in the aerial view. I haven't seen that on streetview before, but the purpose of the watermarks is presumably to make it difficult for other companies to repackage their map data.
posted by aubilenon at 8:04 PM on February 1, 2013

I think it's a randomly inserted Google logo so if you use a screenshot, it's clear that it came from Google. If you look at other street views, you'll see the same thing.

This view is from farther down the same street.
posted by kdern at 8:05 PM on February 1, 2013

It's a bit of watermarking that is both unusually visible and coincidentally placed just so as to be funny/interesting.

I know that block and am familiar with that type of housing stock. There's no way the word "google" is really signposted on the building in real life.
posted by Sara C. at 8:09 PM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

I don't see it in the location you linked to but just yesterday I noticed the same sort of thing, the word "Google" plastered in what would have been ten-foot-tall letters on the side of a building visible through a Google Street View of the Svalbard Archipelago well above the Arctic Circle, in a location that appeared to only be reachable by snowmobile.

I would expect that it serves the same purpose as the technique map-makers use of introducing intentional errors so that they can trace and prove when a competitor is copying their data.
posted by XMLicious at 8:09 PM on February 1, 2013

Scroll a little bit higher up and you'll also see the watermark in the sky, directly above the one on the doorway.
posted by painquale at 8:09 PM on February 1, 2013

I don't think it's an "intentional error" so much as a watermark that looks funny if it happens to hit the right sort of building at the right height.
posted by Sara C. at 8:11 PM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

It's on the red brick building, for people who don't see it right away.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:11 PM on February 1, 2013

Also for me it comes and goes depending on your zoom level. It's not there at all when zoomed in a lot. The shows it's definitely a watermark rather than something to do with the building.
posted by lollusc at 9:07 PM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

I don't see it at all on the red building, but I see it in the sky, and on the "rusted blue" door next to the car to the right of the red brick building. (Watch your step!). Either way, it's most certainly a watermark.
posted by Diag at 9:51 PM on February 1, 2013

As has been said, it's a watermark - there is a copyright symbol and date next to it, but they're all but invisible over the white wall. The fact that it ended up in a place where it actually looks like it has context (like a sign over a door) is just a bit of random chance. If you zoom in or out the watermark appears elsewhere.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 12:06 AM on February 2, 2013

Yeah, I spun around and found it affixed to the fencing on top of the jersey barriers. When I spun so I was looking down, it was painted on the asphalt.
posted by dhartung at 12:14 AM on February 2, 2013

On rare occasions, street view craps out on me and completely fails to load the street view images... but it still loads the watermarks.

What ends up happening is that you appear to be viewing the inside of a black or dark grey cube with faint Google copyright notices pasted all over the walls at a variety of angles. And you can still rotate the view and move down the street as though it were functioning properly. This is the real Google matrix. Very surreal.
posted by matlock expressway at 8:22 AM on February 2, 2013

I walk down this block every week. It's not there in reality. The red brick building (or the one on the left of it) had a fire during Sandy and all the windows were blown out.
posted by hooray at 10:10 AM on February 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

A bit late to the game here, but I wanted to follow-up on the glitch I mentioned above: if you go to this location and hit the arrow on the road to move forward a tad, you should enter the google matrix (presuming that the servers giving map content to you are the same as for me).

I asked a friend to verify and she asked why it took her to the underworld.
posted by matlock expressway at 6:55 PM on March 1, 2013

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