Officer: Ah, those bums won their court case so they're marching today.
Jake: What bums?
Officer: The [unprintable] Nazi party.
Elwood: Illinios Nazis ...
Jake: I hate Illinois Nazis.

-- Jake and Elwood Blues, The Blues Brothers

It seems Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) seconds that emotion with respect to California Nazis. According to a story that made the L.A. Times yesterday, the Internet search titan's landmark Google Earth project is now being turned to for help in the global war on fascism -- or any semblance thereof.

For some time now, tempers on the blogosphere have been gradually rising over the discovery that a set of four L-shaped U.S. Navy barracks at a Seabees base in Coronado, Calif., are arranged in a pattern reminiscent of a swastika. Why the complex, built post-World War II and set at the corner of Tulagi and Bougainville roads, might have been so arranged is not known. But it seems the Navy could do without the publicity and is making cosmetic arrangements to disguise the offensive symbol from sensitive stratospheric sight. The cost of changing the patterns of walkways and landscaping around the complex, and installing rooftop solar panels to obscure the swastika: $600,000.

This will not be the first time that Google has helped change the face of the Earth itself. Last year, Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) made a concerted effort to get people to notice its creation of an 87,500-square-foot "Colonel Sanders" logo in the middle of a Nevada desert. (I've been looking for the dang thing myself ever since someone from KFC PR tipped me off to the story -- but so far, I have found neither hide nor hair of the Colonel on Google Maps.) Partisans of retailer Target (NYSE:TGT) quickly pointed out that their company had been painting red-and-white Target logos atop their stores for quite some time in an effort to catch Google Earth's eye.

Foolish takeaway
In its own way, Google is proving the law of unintended (but not necessarily unwanted) consequences. The company that once upon a time set out to help us all learn more about our world has now become instrumental in changing that world's face.

Scan through related Foolishness:

For an ever-expanding list of companies that aim to break rules and change our world, pick up your free trial subscription to Motley Fool Rule Breakers  right here.

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.