One of the mysteries surrounding the 500,000-square foot server farm Apple (AAPL) has famously constructed in a small North Carolina town called Maiden — besides its ultimate purpose — is why it didn’t show up on Google Earth.
But if you asked Google Earth or Google Maps to show you the intersection of U.S. Route 321 and Startown Road — where the data center is located — the current satellite imagery stopped a few yards short of the construction site. West of Startown Road, there was, as recently as two weeks ago, nothing but woods and farmland and a bit of driveway that ended abruptly in the middle of a field.
After Apple’s announcement Tuesday that Steve Jobs was ready to reveal iCloud — the “upcoming cloud services offering” presumably based in Maiden, N.C. — we thought we’d give Google Maps another try.
Lo and behold, there it was: A huge, white, nondescript building with a road leading in, a road leading out, and almost no employee parking.
How was Apple able to keep Google (GOOG) from displaying this particular swath of satellite imagery — imagery provided by the USDA Farm Services Agency? That’s still a mystery.
Below: The image of the site Google Maps was delivering before the iCloud announcement.