People (including myself) have been critical of Google's Street View and with good reason. Since its introduction there have been privacy issues, reports of Criminals and even terrorists using this service to plan robberies and attacks.
On the privacy side Google's hired photographers (the ones getting the street shots) have driven into gated communities, down privately owned streets and even onto private property protected with a locked gate to get the images Google asked of them.
However in what I think is a first; authorities used Google Street View for something good. This was to help find and recover a girl that had been kidnapped by her own grandmother.
After obtaining location information on the girls Cell Phone the authorities were able to use Google Maps and Street View to identify exactly where she was being held and to ultimately get her back.
Read more here.
Todd Neale, a police officer in Athol, Massachusetts, obtained the coordinates of the girl's mobile phone from her telephone operator. He then contacted Thomas Lozier, a colleague in the fire service, to work out where exactly where the child was being held.
The two men found that the phone's coordinates kept coming in within 300 feet of each other at an intersection in Virginia, although as they were based in Massachusetts they were unable to see it for themselves.
"Then I Googled it," Mr Lozier told the Worcester Telegram and Gazette.
At which point, they used Google Street View to virtually look around the intersection, and saw a large building nearby where the pair could be hiding. Again using Google, they worked out that the building was a hotel.