Anyway, there's no obvious helpful error message that tells you why this is happening; you only get the "We are sorry, but we don't have imagery at this zoom level for this region. Try zooming out for a broader look" error message. This even shows up if you look at the satellite image of the globe.
unless you actually load one of the satellite image tiles individually. There I got a 403 Forbidden page:
... but your query looks similar to automated requests from a computer virus or spyware application. To protect our users, we can't process your request right now.
We'll restore your access as quickly as possible, so try again soon. In the meantime, if you suspect that your computer or network has been infected, you might want to run a virus checker or spyware remover to make sure that your systems are free of viruses and other spurious software."
Then there's a captcha that you can submit. Submitting the captcha then lets you view satellite images again.
Anyway, there's my helpful tip of the day. It continues to amazes me that normal non-techie people manage to use computers at all.
Addendum: After browsing a few more satellite maps (just via the regular maps interface), i'm being denied again. Anyone know how long it takes to go back to being a good user?