The number of Google searches on Google must have dramatically increased in the past few weeks as a result of Google’s announcement that its Street View cars had collected “payload data.” Google’s aptly-named Street View cars take photographs to create a street map with eye-level photographs. While driving the streets of numerous countries, the cars were collecting information about the name and location of wireless networks to improve applications that provide location information, such as GPS functionality on smartphones.
This new information revealed that Google had collected, not just the name and location of wireless networks, but also information sent over unsecured wireless networks, which is called payload data. Google has said that the collection of payload data was unintentional and the result of software code mistakenly included in the Street View cars program. Google also noted that, because the cars are on the move and the software that the cars use rapidly changes channels, the chance that Google captured data containing anything fragments of data is unlikely.