I'm surprised so many commentators are attacking the author.
Google is a business, it seems most it is ad revenue.
Techdirt is also a business. Information propagation/discussion. Most of its revenue is from ads I'm sure. Start discussing or get off of here lol.
That being said, this is a very interesting move on Google's part. While their overwhelmingly complete maps system has driven them search engine customers for years, the burden has finally reached that point.
There are no ads on Google's maps, therefore it generates no direct revenue.
Instead of adding ads to their maps (as they easily could have), they forced the world to provide maps for free.
Now Google doesn't have to send gigantic chunks of visual data as often, saving server load.
Unless another company starts driving around cars with panoramic cameras on top, you won't see street view anywhere soon. That fact will continue to drive customers to their platform, which is what they want.
Google basically just agreed with an idea, that maps of the world should be free. Those who switch to open source will have to deal with ads. I for one am not to upset at this move.
I continue to applaud Google for its innovation and business tactics. I also continue to dislike Google for its data mining and the fact that its WAY too big to fail.