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Google moves into online mapping with Keyhole buyout

LONDON - Google has acquired US-based digital mapping firm Keyhole Corporation , which allows users to see images of locations from space as well as close up, for an undisclosed sum.

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Keyhole's technology includes a database of mapping , together with images collected from satellites and aircraft. This enables users to view images of locations, from "space level to street level" according to Google.

It is the latest move in Google's diversification programme, which has seen it take on the major ISPs with a new, free email service, Gmail, as well as offering new services such as shopping search and a book search.

Google's vice-president of product management Jonathan Rosenberg said: "This acquisition gives Google users a powerful new search tool, enabling users to view 3D images of any place on earth as well as tap a rich database of roads, businesses and many other points of interest."

Launched in 2001, Keyhole's customers include public agencies, businesses and individual consumers.

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