Via this interesting MSNBC article on Thetus — a startup that aims to become the Google of non-text data and which just received a cash infusion from a CIA-funded venture capital firm — I learned that Keyhole Corp. also received CIA funding in order to develop what is now Google Earth. I wonder what Hevesi thinks of that! I love it.
All this might set the conspiracy theorists’ tongues wagging in some places as to what the purpose of Google Earth is — after all, democratising access to spatial data globally undermines the most secretive governments most. But I think the proper message to take from this is that the CIA is becoming smarter by incubating and harnessing innovation out in the free markets, rather than always trying to develop homebrewed solutions.
(It turns out, now that I look for it, that the Wall Street Journal wrote about this a few weeks ago.)