Members of the House of Representatives have accused Google Maps of attempting to obscure the fallout of Hurricane Katrina by posting pre-hurricane images to their satellite imagery site.
Lawmakers investigating this supposed slight claim that it does an “injustice” to Katrina victims, some of whom used the site when it had post-hurricane imagery to see if their homes were damaged.
Google says it chose to use the pre-hurricane photos because of their superior resolution, but conspiracy-believing critics think they have worked with local government to give the impression that the relief effort in Louisiana is doing better than it really is.
Either way, mistaken intentions on Google’s part or overreaction from Congress, this shows how much attention is given to Web sites as the archive of our culture. Will Google control the de facto historical record of the 21st Century?