Re: Google Maps?
In places, one of us is having difficulty comprehending the other.
> OpenStreetMap may have more detailed information than Google, depending on where you're looking. It can also be rather sparse.
Cut the hand waving and show us a few different places where Google has more detailed (and ideally, accurate) mapping information than OSM.
You ask for clarification of something I did not say. OSM can have more detailed info than Google but OSM doesn't necessarily have any detail at all. I know this from where I live. Before I started mapping it had far fewer businesses marked than Google and there was less detail (they were marked as nodes, not outlines). Now there are more businesses mapped than Google and they are mapped in greater detail than Google.
If you want to check this, find a rural area and look for buildings (farmhouses/barns/whatever) At high zoom with Google you'll at least see a (faint) box which is a very crude approximation to the building ouline (taken from whatever out-of-copyright map Google used to bootstrap their maps). Do the same thing on OSM and there may be no sign of a building at all.
Yes, OSM has the capability to hold more detail about an object but it doesn't mean that such detail has been added or that the object is even in the database at all. OSM has the potential to be better than Google, and often is, but often is not.
As for intentional copyright theft by Google, that depends. Maybe you have seen enough evidence to be sure, I haven't (but I wasn't looking for it). I don't doubt cross-fertilization (both directions) occurs, but I don't know the extent or the intent.
OSM newbies sometimes use Google and/or Ordnance Survey maps to get details for armchair mapping, although they shouldn't. Similarly, anyone can submit suggestions and edits to Google, so that could be one way OSM data gets into Google, if somebody sees something on OSM and adds it to Google. Wrong, whichever direction it transfers, but not sanctioned by either organization and probably not wide-scale.
How about if one of Google's local "guides" (people who submit changes and vet changes submitted by others) occasionally looks at OSM and if he/she notices a change makes an effort to go and check it for himself/herself? Not technically wrong (as I understand the legal issues, which is to say not much) but might give the appearance of copyright violation.
How about if Google processes OSM changesets and send out "suggestions" to local "guides" that they ought to go out and survey certain things? Still not technically wrong (same proviso) but would be much more likely to look like widespread copyright violation.
You seem to be suggesting that Google is processing OSM changesets and simply adding them to their maps. Maybe they are. In which case they're being very naughty. Or maybe it's one of the other scenarios I outlined, and they're not being naughty at all. Maybe the evidence you've seen (which, technically, is hearsay) allows you to be sure.