But what if the images you found weren't blurry, dated snapshots – but live and crystal clear? You could search for traffic jams 50 miles ahead while driving down the motorway – or check whether you left your garden lights on while away on holiday.
This may sound like CIA-level surveillance, but it may one day be the future of Google Maps –all thanks to the quiet acquisition of a start-up named Skybox Imaging earlier this month.
Founded in 2009, Skybox launched its first satellite into orbit in 2013. In December it beamed back to Earth the first commercial HD video shot from space. For an encore, Skybox's engineers sent their fridge-sized satellite to float above Kiev, watching in real time as battle lines between police and protesters shifted back and forth.