I was going to write up more on Google Maps and its integration of Keyhole, but to see its power, just read this entry from Don Park.
I spoke to John Hanke, the CEO of Keyhole and now GM of the unit within Google. His vision early on was to see his product in the hands of millions of people. I think he’s succeeded. I used Google Maps/Keyhole to “walk” up Mount Tam last night. It’s just really cool. And it brings a new view of the world into our lives, one I am sure will be enriched by layers of metadata – traffic information, rainfall stats, historical data, user tagged information of all sorts (“Click here to see my Flickr gallery from this vista”) etc. Cool. Very cool. But…will it be open? For now, this world is closed to Google, and only Google can determine what data will be layered on top of it. But imagine if the company opened up an API to it? Now that would be Not Evil.