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How often are the pictures updated on Google Maps?

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Google Maps uses the same satellite data as Google Earth and updated together with bulk updates usually once or twice every month but NOT every area is updated on each update.

It's hard to say exactly when a given area will be updated because Google does not provide advance notice and some areas may be updated more frequently than others (just because that data is more readily available). While most images are no more than 3 years old, you may occasionally see an older image. Urban centers and large cities tend to get updated more frequently than scarcely populated areas largely due to the fact that revenue of ads for businesses in those areas which ultimately pays for the service.
Google announces which areas where updated on several blogs. Google also provides a KML file (see below) for Google Earth showing which regions were updated in each update.

Due to overwhelming demand when a given area will be updated Google has created a new e-mail notification service. Check out 'Follow Your World' in related links below.
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