back to article Google experimenting with spy drones, says German maker

Global small-ads colossus Google is trialling a small battery-powered camera drone of a type previously used by the UK police and special forces, according to reports. It's thought that the flying spyeyes might add a new dimension to the company's controversial "Street View" picture database, compiled by fleets of camera cars …


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  1. Smallbrainfield

    The Daily Mail

    will explode when it gets wind of this. I for one welcome our search engine overlords having a nosey through the bathroom window.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Microdrones, meet my model airplane.

    I model airplane from Maplin accelerated to ramming speed - priceless. For everything else you have Mastercard.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    This is one area in which Bing Maps totally crushes Google's offering

    although I imagine there'll be a round of reports of air-rifle deployments against the Google menace

  4. Spongibrain

    first to say it... Blurbverts !

    We can expect the Burger Cops to be coming soon.

  5. petur

    Microsoft is already offering such images

    I was waiting for Google to add areal pictures, IE is already offering such highly detailed images, each location viewable from 4 directions. They call it birds eye.

    Of course, no such facts will stand in the way of another round of Google bashing by a bunch of paranoid hippies ;)

  6. David Edwards

    Try that in the Countryside Google.

    One word.


    Now gerroff my laaaannd!!

  7. Anonymous Coward

    "I caught it, can I take it home?"

    Big butterfly net at the ready if it's flying anywhere near my house. Bagsy one high tech peeping tom flying machine.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Yes please

    So where do we apply to come and work with these things? :-D

    Look like fun and i'm sure Google won't be the only ones flying them around soon. 1.2KG is quite a payload on something that size..

  9. Fred 4

    how much of the air space do I have rights too??

    over my land of course....

    Its Duck Season!

    Its Wabbit Season@!

    Its Duck Season!




    Shoot 'em now, Doc. Shoot 'em now!


    Oops! Thought it was duck 8 )

    Penguin - closest thing to a duck available... Where is our Warner Bros Icon :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother


      As I understand it, you own all of the air above your property, but you don't automatically own anything in it. You also don't have any particular rights to it.

      There's a reason that passenger jets and other aircraft can fly over houses without being immediately repossessed!

      Still, it sounds like good target practice!

  10. Andrew the Invertebrate
    Black Helicopters

    How long before Google go all the way.

    And purchase some of the unarmed 1st generation Predator drones?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Spy Sats, Cars and now Planes??

    When do they change the name to Skynet and drop the "no" from their motto??

    Until then, looking forwards to the spy shots of a certain celebs bedroom

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      #Spy Sats, Cars and now Planes??

      Next thing you know they'll be reading your email....

  12. TeeCee Gold badge


    The likes of The Beano hark back to the days when no kid would be seen out without a catty in his back pocket, for those serendipitous moments that a target of opportunity and a handy pebble/conker/acorn/sheepshit would be found together.

    Looks like those days may be about to return.

    Off now to find a cleft stick and nick a piece of 'laccy from my mum's sewing box.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UK Laws

    Have a good read of CAP722 - Unmanned Aircraft System Operations in UK Airspace – Guidance.

    Google have an awful lot of rules and regs to comply with if they have designs on using these things to do extensive mapping of the UK. I'm sure most of the civilized, sorry that should be bureaucratic - world has similar rules and regs.

    Oh and @Fred4 - in the UK at least the answer to your initial question would be none. As above, so below. You have no rights to mining on your property either. Ask Al Fayed. ;)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    I want one on my wall...

    Put me down as a prospective hunter as well, though I too will use my air rifle as I expect the neighbours are likely to notice if I use any of my firearms.

    Anonymous posting as Google are probably monitoring these comments...

  15. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Google XSSXXXXdD Up

    "Anonymous posting as Google are probably monitoring these comments..." ..... Anonymous Coward Posted Monday 9th August 2010 15:28 GMT


    That were it to be so, reveals that they would lack a credible future intelligence system that adventures in HyperRadioProActive IT, and thus would be a Juicy Lucy of a Servering Client and Supply Giant.

    And that's very Tasty and Thoroughly Arty .... Tarty too.

    Imagine the information on the wishes of women that the Internet has, and search delivers. That is pure raw core power, for primitive man knows little to nothing of another species desires and craven feed needs.

    Quite why they would deny themselves the Pleasures is Surely an Undeniable Sign of a Current Present Madness.

  16. ratfox
    Paris Hilton

    Unfair competition

    Shirley, this is unfair competition for the Reg's own PARIS?

  17. CASIOMS-8V

    Gordon Freeman moment

    Wanted - Crowbar

  18. Alan Firminger


    Generally airspace below 3000 feet is open for all users, But that assumes on board eyeballs and intelligence to avoid collisions. There is plenty of sky so airborne vehicles are mostly safe.

    Without a pilot the drone will have to stay below 500 feet. So the promises of no intrusion depend on the optical resolution that may, or will, be fitted.

  19. JohnG
    Paris Hilton


    "A battery-powered md4-1000 quadcopter can stay up for over an hour..."

    1. Someone Else Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Title?!? We don' need no steenkin' Title!

      Please be sure to consult a physician if your battery-powered md4-1000 quadcopter stays up for longer than 4 hours

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shitstorm generator

    It might be fun to try taking control when they are flying their drone close to something sensitive and land it inside the military base or embassy concerned..... Directional antenna, RC controller, downlink receiver, etc.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother


    You lot wander into the surveillance society like cattle to the abattoir. Bad enough your own government keeping its citizens under surveillance, but when a foreign company does it, not a tweet.

  22. A handle is required
    Big Brother

    Haven't they learned anything...

    ... from their recent Street View fiasco? If I where them I'd be laying low, instead of playing with spy drones. I can just imagine seeing one of those things floating outside my window, maybe while I'm complaining about Google, or... *quickly glances out window*. They are trying to map the world on the ground and from above. How about below; drones that scour the plumbing.

  23. Homard

    The Technology To Counter This Threat Is Already Out There !

    Enter the USB missile launcher.

    There may be some other interesting encounters :-

    Birds of prey attacking these things,

    Domestic pets such as cats and dogs catching them if too low.

    So when you google to a skyview and get an up close of 'Ginger' the tom you know that it's not quite tangoed, but almost certainly mangled. Could prove embarrasing if 'Ginger' takes the contraption inside as a gift for his human as cats do ! Doris from number 47 caught with the milkman, again, even though she shops at Waitrose !

    Better get me annorak !

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I will be checking up on the laws regarding these things...

    ...specifically to see on what grounds I can shoot them down. Otherwise, I have to invest in a disguise first...

    1. Geoff Campbell Silver badge

      I think you'll find it's perfectly legal to shoot them down.... long as you don't get caught. Hide the wreckage carefully, would be my advice.


  25. Someone Else Silver badge

    Might we say then...

    Given the original quote from the article:

    "[...] and it's certainly true that Google has form in this area, [...]"

    Might it be better said that:

    "[...] and it's certainly true that Google has Phorm in this area, [...]"

    I'll get me coat....

  26. Anonymous Coward

    What the fuck!

    I mean what the fucking fuck! Are we really going to let the Gooplicants get away with this?

  27. Eddy Ito


    I can see a wonderful blending of tokyo-marui tech. You know, those wonderful folks in Japan who make both airguns and RC aircraft. I knew they put extra buttons on the controller for some reason.

  28. Argus Tuft

    shooting air rifles might be illegal

    (at least they are in Oz), but paintball guns.......

  29. elderlybloke
    Thumb Up

    Haven't they learned anything... #

    Dear- A handle is required

    They may have learned to spell however.

  30. Anonymous Coward

    Daily Mail

    cant wait for the day you can dial one up and get it to mosey around the neighour hood remotely by web control! - extra cool if it had loud speaker too!

    as others have commented, the Daily Mail will go ballistic when they hear about this one!?

    "think of the children" before you know it paedos, perverta and immigrants will be ruling the skys and threatening the very fabric of society... of course unless the Jones'es get one and then it will be next years must have! (after all, if you have nothing to hide...)

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Many Angry Idiots...

    so after the conclusion Jumpers have all thrown a wobbly, lets post some proper thoughts...

    I do not believe these will be used to image in the same way Microsoft do. (so people calm down) in MS that have already done it! without you even noticing....

    I do believe these will be used to extend street view to popular places that are not so easily accessible by the gCars for example Trafalgar square. if you want to be able to see it properly on SV it needs more view points all across the square, the easiest way to capture these may be by drone. likewise parks, and well known paths on open ground like say national parks. the coast to coast walk etc...

    so once again, I say CALM down dear. Put your pitchforks away, you can all sleep safely, knowing that Google probably wont destroy the world today.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      ...and one big useful idiot

      Honestly what you believe that Google will do with the data is irrelevant. Now think of this, imagine that instead of Google spying on everybody and taking pictures with their drones everywhere it was the government (pick the one you hate the most). Wouldn't that be an outrage? (Let's not discuss whether the governments are already doing that in secret.) So why do I have to be happy when Google does it? Because they are nicey and googly and do no evil? My a***

  32. Tigra 07

    I like Google Earth

    I like Google Earth, the fact that it's free is helping keep satnavs from rocketing in price.

    And it's useful so if they don't steal WiFi data this time then i don't see a problem with it.

  33. James Hughes 1

    More rumours

    I've heard a rumor that Google already have unmanned predators in test, and they are also supplying funding for airships to provide better Google maps images.

    And they have also used a medium to do remote viewing of various places, where they haven't been able to get footage.

    Christ, I wonder how long before all of the above gets to be common knowledge!

    (I made it all up btw)

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