Satellites have been used as a strategic power tool for nation-states, but with the implementation of Google Earth, satellite imagery has been democratized allowing the public to use satellite imagery themselves. This has caused great implications, especially for nation-states as noted by Sangeet Kumar in the article Google Earth and the nation state: Sovereignty in the age of new media. The launched software Google Earth, allows any member of the global public, to zoom in on classified locations. Kumar explains the significance of Google Earth and the challenges that it brings to nation states. Kumar notes that new media like Google Earth characterize a new modality of power that is causing issues for the national state system.
There are major political implications to Google Earth. Google states that Google Earth is a mechanism for public goods, but it also mast material interests. There have always been issues with how one maps the world, and problems will always arise anytime new maps come out. Nations also have different levels of agency to combat these non-state actors and some nations have more options to combat issues that may arise like Google Earth.
Yet, nation states are not the only ones that are speaking up against Google Earth. Citizens have also gone through their own mechanism to try and combat certain Google Earth decisions. For example, citizens have created their own facebook groups against Google Earths boundary mapping like the group “ Tell Google Earth Jerusalem is Not the Capital of Israel.” (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=7908515139).
Yet, there are also citizens who are ecstatic about Google Earth. For example one should mention that Google Earth can be a tool to monitor environmental changes and keep nations accountable for their actions. Google Earth allows activists, scientists and the general public, to form compelling cases to reach the public about environmental degradation.
I remember the first time I used Google Earth. I was in awe that anyone could type in my home address and see my house (and my neighbor walking her dog). I must be honest, I thought it was cool and revolutionary but I also was a little scared and nervous how easy it was for anyone to look up a specific location. I think Google Earth is groundbreaking but it is also a little radical. Even though Google is not a nation-state it has an increasing political power. How they map something has great influence on how others see the world and they must be careful not to spur any more conflicts without their willing to take the consequences.