Google Earth released back in 2001 and soon went on to become a worldwide phenomenon. The ability to just zoom in to any city or place on Earth remains an incredible piece of tech to this day.
With the ability to book a restaurant at the touch of a button and even the functionality to jump into a museum virtually, this innovative tech started brightly and has only grown from strength to strength since then. The trouble is, Google hides a much darker past that’s been shielded from the public.
The truth is Google Earth is not the first of its kind to showcase this. In fact, way back in 1993 a company called ART+COM developed a piece of tech called Terravision, allowing a user to zoom all the way in from a satellite view to street level. Sound familiar? Well, it should, and this forgotten truth is slowly revealed across the course of this four episode biographical drama.
The case itself is an interesting one, wrought with tension and shocking revelations along the way. Although the series does take some dramatic liberties, throwing in a couple of contrived character developments late on that aren’t needed, this is a well-written, gripping watch from start to finish.
Taking inspiration from The Social Network, The Billion Dollar Code essentially uses the hook of a court case to dive back and see how this lawsuit came to be, and how Google so ruthlessly ripped off two naïve entrepreneurs along the way.
Those entrepreneurs, born and bred in Berlin, happen to be inventor Carsten and programmer Juri Muller. Together, their friendship and loyalty is pushed to the absolute max as they find themselves up against the might of Google in the courtroom.
With a narrative that dances between the early 90’s and present day, The Billion Dollar Code keeps things intriguing and never lets up until the credits roll.
This show essentially serves as a cautionary tale about the predatory nature of big tech companies and the steps they’re willing to take to trample over the little guy. As we soon find out, the court case actually cost Google more money than just paying out for the patented rights of Terravision!
With well written characters, surprisingly adept dubbing (although subbed with German is the more preferable option here) and four simple but effective chapters clocking in at an hour a piece, The Billion Dollar Code is an interesting and eye-opening show that’s well worth checking out.
Verdict - 8.5/10