Google Africa aims to scrape and catalog global real estate listing data

by THE WAV GROUP on December 19, 2009

Los Angles Times, 2009 – International Search Engine Company, Google – opens new company in Africa to begin scraping data outside the reach of United States and International Copyright Laws.

This is fiction

Today I read the Los Angles Times – paper edition (typing with black fingers).  There was an article covering Google Books – the Search Engine’s initiative to digitize every book on the planet in every language.  As it turns out, the French courts generally agree with the US Courts – that digitizing books violates copyright.

I am not an international copyright lawyer, but I suspect that Google employs piles of them.  I  would estimate that they have already identified a country that will not give them a hard time over digitizing their country’s books or anything else for that matter –  making them available to their citizens and everyone else – online.  Google will soon ship all the books they want to copy to this unnamed country and digitize like crazy.  After all, the Internet is international and Google has invested in translation techniques for years.  Every book, every language, available everywhere to everyone.  Oh, and I almost forgot – since it is Google, all the books are free.

Consider the compelling plight of the African people.  They have 130 Million children – and a median household income of $360 per year.  I know that my 7 year old daughter is reading about 10 books a month at an average price of $7……x12 months….$840 per year.  Seems like the good folks in Africa could put together a pretty good argument about why books need to be digital and made available to their 130 million children for free.

We spend a lot of time and energy protecting real estate listing data here in America.  There are strong motivations of privacy protection and copyright protection.   We saw in our research of third party listing websites that some companies are embracing this notion of unrestricted reuse of listing data, and others work hard to limit the use of the data and maintain the broker’s rights.

If the industry wants to protect the data rights, they better stop publishing the data to third parties without strict legal protections – internationally.

If the industry wants to set the data free – that is easy.  Just keep publishing.

I had a vision last night.  I pulled out my Google phone and took a picture of thousands of people watching the fireworks at Disneyland.  The castle was spectacular, so I posted it to Facebook.

Disneyland 2009Imagine that anyone can click on the face of any person in my photo, click to see the home they live in, take a virtual tour and view the floor plan, visit every home every person has ever lived in, learn about the people that live there now.  Thanks to a REALTOR who sold the home in 1984 (think Orwell), we even know about that hidden safe is in the master bedroom. Thanks to facebook and twitter, I easily know when they are home or away – married or living alone.

I am a big fan of social media.  I think it is entertaining to share the happenings in my life, and celebrate the happenings of my friends and business associates.  However, I understand that all of this transparency has some pretty significant risks. I am also beginning to think that Google is not as cool anymore.

And just for the record, we have a perimeter security system, home security system, and I keep a number of loaded guns safely stored around the house.

 

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