Google Earth – Google Maps The World in 3D
Google today relaunched their Keyhole satellite Image mapping system as Google Earth. Google Earth combines 3D buildings and terrain with mapping capability and Google search and is based on Keyhole technology. Google Earth enables users to “fly from space to street level views to find geographic information and explore places around the world.”
Given the direction of local search as being a tool to find restaurants, businesses and landmarks within your own area or one you are visiting, the integration of satellite mapping and local search labeling and “tacking” of locations is a powerful mix. Besides Google, MSN Search is also working on a similar offering by tieing MSN Local Search into Virtual Earth – a Microsoft project. But, as always, Google beat the others to the announcement by rebranding and adding some Google-esque touches to its Keyhole offering.
“Google Earth utilizes broadband streaming technology and 3D graphics, much like a videogame, enabling users to interactively explore the world– either their own neighborhood or the far corners of the globe,” said John Hanke, general manager, Keyhole, Google Inc. “With many ways to access geographic information, Google provides a very rich local search experience for users worldwide.”
Key features of Google Earth include:
* Free software download available at http://earth.google.com
* 3D buildings in major cities across the United States
* 3D terrain showing mountains, valleys, and canyons around the world
* Integrated Google Local search to find local information such as hotels, restaurants, schools, parks, and transportation
* Video playback of driving directions
* Tilt, rotate, and activate 3D terrain and buildings for a different perspective on a location
From the release : Google Earth is the latest innovation within Google’s local search product suite, which currently includes Google Local and Google Maps for web users and mobile phone users. With Google Earth, users have the tools to dive deeper into local information, whether they’re exploring a vacation destination or researching a new home or apartment. They can combine multiple layers of information, such as cross-referencing school districts with address look-ups of available homes, business listings and public transportation, and save their results for later use.