In short, Manber and co. (urged on by Jeff Bezos, who Manber says was "very involved") strapped GPS-enabled digital video camera-cum-terabyte server rigs to the top of a bunch of SUVs, then drove them around the commercial areas of major US metropolitan areas, recording what then became composite still pictures of entire cities, one address at a time. A9 took more than 20 million images of 14 million+ businesses across ten cities (more are coming soon), then created a local search application they call Block View.
Of course I see other benefits as well for my friends and family overseas. Wondering what Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley looks like these days? Take a stroll starting at Amoeba Records and click on the image to scroll either up towards the University or down towards Ashby. Notice Amazon still need to get photos of the other side of the street so you can’t see Moe’s yet but the listing tells you it’s still there.
Then there the new game in finding unsuspecting people caught in internet eternity in front of questionable enterprises. How would you like to be known as the guy on the cellphone in front of Peepworld?