Earth is the ultimate palette for myriad developers whose
products require geo-spatial context, but its utility and reach has
been capped by the fact that it’s a stand-alone API that exists outside the standard browsing
experience. As of today that’s no longer the case. With the release
new Earth Browser Plug-in Google’s little Hulk), the
future hub and entry point for many of the company’s offerings, has
escaped its cage and is now free to roam the halls of the worldwide
web and look for new friends… millions of them.
In the immediate to short-term, this allows those who
have installed the plugin to embed frames of Google Earth directly
into their web pages and to manipulate and mash objects and
markers, and polygons; import 3D models from the web and overlay
them anywhere on the planet,” writes Paul Rademacher, Technical
Lead of the Earth Browser Plug-in project, “In fact, you can even
overlay your content over different planets, stars, and galaxies by
toggling Sky mode, letting you build 3D Google Sky mashups. You can
Rumor has it that Google is set to make available its Street
View software directly through the already formidable and
engaging Earth platform.
Rafe Needleman over at Webware reports: “A source tells me
that the Google
Earth app will get the Street View feature, currently available
only in the browser-based Google Maps service, within a few weeks.
What’s not clear is whether this refers to general release or
While this merger may at first glance seem like a novelty, it
marks another significant step in Google’s relentless march toward
the real-time quantification of the entire planet, aka the creation
of a total systems Mirror World .
Check out this demo of Street View if you haven’t already
explored the product/service:
As the company strives to “organize the world’s information and
make it universally accessible and useful”, Street View integration
is an inevitable step for Google Earth and is likely to be followed
by inter-stitched geo-tagged photos, richer layers of
user-generated content, more up-to-date / high-rez satellite
imagery, plus whatever additional applications the behemoth can
conceive and implement. The stakes are simply to high for the
company not continue adding info nodes and value to their budding
According to CNet reporter Stephen Shankland it's rather likely that Google will announce the new monster app next week at a star-studded Google Earth event:
Gore is set to join Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt and Marissa Mayer, vice president of search products and user experience, at the on February 2 event at the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco's newly rebuilt aquarium, planetarium, and natural history museum. But it's another speaker's name that gives the tip-off about what the event might be about.
The Google Blog: Until today, Google Earth displayed only one image of a given place at a given time. With this new feature, you can now move back and forth in time to reveal imagery from years and even decades past, revealing changes over time. Try flying south of San Francisco in Google Earth and turning on the new time slider (click the "clock" icon in the toolbar) to witness the transformation of Silicon Valley from a farming community to the tech capital of the world over the past 50 years or so.
Along with a new 3d Mars feature, the additions have increased the scope and resolution of the largest publicly accessible simulation of our physical system, thus expanding the Google's information scaffolding and future monetization opportunities through an increasingly valuable Mirror World.
The new features also reinforce the notion of a rapidly growing retro-quantification industry rooted in our social desire to achieve topsight over space and time. A resource that quickly allows people to surf physical history is obviously critical to bettering our view of reality and thus improving the efficiency of our economic behavior.
A few years into the future when someone says, “I think I’ll use my lifeline,” they will no longer be referring to Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, but instead their geo-spatially coordinated content history.
According to John Schneider, CTO of clever geo-web annotator Abaq.us, we’re about to experience a powerful convergence of mirror worlds and life-logging that will enable all sorts of interesting applications including community feedback mechanisms and amplified memory.
“You’ve been to something like an antique shop last month with your wife, and you just can’t for the life of you remember where this place was or what the name of it was,” lays out Schneider, “But because you’ve life-logged you can get on your account, you can take the time slider and move it back in time to the place you were. ... Now you project that lifeline on something like Google maps, bring up the Street View, look around and there it is – there is the place you’ve been looking for.”
Google Earth took another baby-step into the future yesterday
with the integration of geographically pertinent news feeds.
“By spatially locating the Google News’ constantly updating
index of stories from more than 4,500 news sources, Google Earth
now shows an ever-changing world of human activity as chronicled by
wrote product manager Brandon Badger .
I took the new layer function for a spin and found it to
be rudimentary and moderately useful. But it’s clear the service
will gradually become more valuable as Google adds more
geographically tagged stories/feeds, filtering options and
sub-layers that I can toggle on or off at will.
Ultimately it seems likely that the new feature will work
hand-in-hand with search, possibly even showing up on Google’s main
results pages alongside maps, pictures and video which were added
earlier this year.
My main take-aways: Google’s inexorable march toward an
information-dense and variably sortable Earth platform continues.
As the company continues to systematically add physical and
information “resolution” to its Earth application, I expect it will
evolve into a resource that I and billions of others use on a daily
basis and become one of Google’s top money makers.