High definition Russian military bases on maps? Google responds: It’s always been that way

According to some, this is a first for Google, due to the exceptional nature of the war in Ukraine. But the Mountain View corporate giant reiterates: “Nothing new.”

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Google Maps ended up in the eye of the hurricane by an apparent modification, actually never happened. In the last few hours, mainly on Twitter, several screens of the application that depict the Russian strategic bases were published in high definition, without any kind of blurring (or “blur”) used for privacy and security reasons. And indeed, you can see everything: planes, airstrips, ships, ICBMs, command posts and much more.

According to several Twitter accounts, this is a first for Google, given the exceptional nature of the war in Ukraine. Among them, also the Belarusian channel Nexta TVwho posted several photos of Russian bases to claim that “Google Maps has stopped hiding Russia’s secret military and strategic installations, allowing anyone in the public to see them”.

This is still not the case. As screens took over the various social networks, the Mountain View giant began posting a series of responses to reiterate a simple fact: “Nothing new” for Google Maps. Here in detail the official answer of the company: “We have not made any changes to the blur in our satellite images in Russia”. A thesis reinforced by many other users, who pointed out how other military bases, including those of NATO Sigonella and Avian in Italy they are perfectly visible in high resolution in the app.

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Meanwhile, other users noticed that in the Lipetsk military base, about 400 kilometers from the border with Ukraine, there are some planes that, however, thanks to the high definition images from Google Maps, appear to be the result of a photo retouch. A tactic to trick opponents with a base-trap, already in use at the time of WWII.

This story once again shows the centrality of technology in warfare. Since the conflict in Ukraine erupted last February, Google Maps has repeatedly been a resource for civilians. Among the most striking cases, the false reviews of Ukrainian users to report on the progress of Russian military attacks.

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