Boris Mann alerts us to a new feature from the folks at Google Maps: satellite imagery.

Go to Google Maps, click on the “Satellite” link in the upper right-hand corner. And just like the geeks in a spy movie, you too can see a satellite image of pretty much anywhere in North America south of the Yukon. Zoom in on your house. Your neighbour’s house. Your cottage. Your workplace. A landfill.

A few things distinguish this from, say, what you could do at CTU on 24. For one thing, they get live pictures, whereas Google’s pix have a teensy delay… about two years, judging by some of the construction in Vancouver.

For another, the resolution isn’t as high. If you want to be able to recognize your house, it helps to know what colour the roof is.

(And, of course, it lacks the obligatory Total Bullshit Enhance Function, which allows a NYPD detective, Las Vegas CSI analyst or MI5 agent to tell a computer operator, “Can you enhance that?” Whereupon the image magically sprouts a few billion extra pixels, and you can see, in a reflection on the metal clip of some pedestrian’s ballpoint pen, a studio-quality portrait the real gunman! Good lord, Clancy’s innocent – we have to stop the execution!)

It’s certainly a far more productive way to play with Google than, say, to randomly throw in the words “Gomery”, “testimony” and “Jean Brault” into every blog post…