Google Earth keeps getting closer to reality.
Google announced the latest upgrade to Google Earth, version 6, today with some pretty significant new features. Most importantly, Google (GOOG) is integrating the controversial Streetview with imagery provided by satellites. That means as users zoom to a Streetview-enabled location (denoted in a similar fashion as maps), they can seamlessly switch to the streetview and vice versa as they zoom out.
Google has also updated Earth to display 3D trees. The initial release includes over 80 million trees in a variety of cities including San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Athens, Tokyo and Berlin. Google also built some full forests in parts of Africa and Mexico.
Google has a variety of 3D trees for users to "plant" around their Sketchup buildings, which can be uploaded to Google to make your piece of earth 3D.
Finally, Google includes historical views of locations in order to show how things have changed....at least since the beginnings of aerial imagery.
Videos of all three new features below: More
This has been an exciting week for the street view cars, which can't seem to keep themselves out of trouble.
From Gizmodo [update: this image has been confirmed as a hoax], a baby's birth on the sidewalk caught by a streetview car (hopefully the driver was nice enough to call/stop for help) in Wilmersdorf, Germany:
Down the autobahn, a German man who is just as clothed as that baby who appears to be MORESeth Weintraub - Nov 23, 2010 2:21 PM ET
The company fears being shut out of smartphone handsets, first by Apple and now Google.
Apple (AAPL) started using Skyhook's location based services for their iOS Maps application June 2008 and dropped Skyhook April 2010 after it developed its own location-based mapping system.
That's one of the benefits of making your own hardware and software.
Unfortunately for Google (GOOG), who doesn't make hardware and also wants to supplant Skyhook's services with its own, MORESeth Weintraub - Sep 16, 2010 5:33 PM ET
Another country loses it over Streetview data.
Korean Googlers today received an unexpected visit in the form of a raid by police this morning. The cops were after that Steetview data that Google had admitted to erroneously collecting many months ago and any information they could find related to its spying on Korean citizens.
"(The police) have been investigating Google (GOOG) Korea LLC on suspicion of unauthorized collection and storage of data on unspecified MORESeth Weintraub - Aug 10, 2010 8:55 AM ET
Did Google break any U.S. laws with its unauthorized collection of Wifi data and will state and federal statutes need to be changed?
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal announced yesterday through his press office that he'd be leading the multi-state investigation into Google's Streetview camera cars' collection of Wifi data.
"My office will lead a multistate investigation -- expected to involve a significant number of states -- into Google's deeply disturbing invasion of personal privacy," MORESeth Weintraub - Jun 22, 2010 12:31 PM ET
In an interview with the Financial Times, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said an employee snuck some code into the Streetview computers causing them to collect information.
The case has been making headlines across the world and has Google in courts from Oregon to Germany. But, was it caused by one employee? (Working on his 20% time?) According to Google CEO Eric Schmidt, that employee is now the subject of an internal investigation.
In the first case, an engineer, MORESeth Weintraub - Jun 6, 2010 12:43 AM ET
Also, Google notes that they will start offering an encrypted version of Google Search starting next week.
Alan Eustace, Senior VP, Engineering & Research, posted some bad news for privacy advocates today on Google's Official Blog.
Those cars (right) that go around collecting images for street view use local Wifi hotspots to help map the world. It turns out that they've also been collecting and storing data from those MORESeth Weintraub - May 15, 2010 8:15 PM ET
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