Greek government uses Google Maps to find tax cheats

August 2, 2010: 11:27 AM ET

Frankly, it's surprising it took Greece this long to figure out this way of using Google Maps.

When you do a Google Maps or Google Earth fly over of residential neighborhoods, it is pretty easy to spot who has a pool and who doesn't.  In fact, if you look closely, you can even see people enjoying themselves by their pools.  This has been the case pretty much since Google bought Keyhole Technologies (the product that would become Google Earth) in 2004.

Fast forward six years, and the Greek government is proud to announce that they've discovered that you can see people who have pools, and Villas and other stuff that they've been lying about on their taxes for years.  All using Google Maps' satellite view.

They use satellite pictures by Google Earth to locate country villas, swimming pools and properties. And these tactics have revealed that the suburbs didn't have 324 swimming pools, as was reported, but rather 16,974.

Previously, and even currently, they use a bit more dated tactics like flying expensive helicopter missions over the suburbs to exact the same information.

Maybe if the Greek government had been a little more tech savvy the past six years, they wouldn't be in such a financial mess?

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Seth Weintraub
Seth Weintraub

Google went from searching the Web to worming its way into nearly every facet of business and government. Seth Weintraub unveils where the company is going, who it's competing with, who it's about to compete with and how market forces push the company to veer or adhere to its Don't Be Evil motto. For 15 years, Weintraub was a global IT director for a number of companies before becoming a blogger.

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