Google Earth Adds Featured Content

Google today announced a "showcase of multimedia overlays" for Google Earth. I see this as Google's first step in making the world digital, location driven, and on demand, and it has implications for many of Google's other products, like maps, local, IM/Talk, etc. For now, Google is saying the…


Google today announced a “showcase of multimedia overlays” for Google Earth. I see this as Google’s first step in making the world digital, location driven, and on demand, and it has implications for many of Google’s other products, like maps, local, IM/Talk, etc. For now, Google is saying the content is educational. But I see a time not far off when this is rip roaringly commercial.

Ars Technica has more.

(release in extended entry)

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Pilot partners include United Nations Environmental Program, Discovery

Networks, and National Park Service

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – Sept. 13, 2006 – Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG)

today released Featured Content for Google Earth, a new showcase of

multimedia overlays in Google Earth that connect users to information

about the world around them from a variety of premium content


Users can access these informative overlays by clicking on the

“Featured Content” checkbox in the Google Earth sidebar. In doing

so, icons for each Featured Content provider will span the globe,

enabling users to click on individual locations and learn about the

area’s significance. The Featured Content showcase will be routinely

updated to include innovative and diverse contributions from additional

content providers.

“We are excited to provide users with the opportunity to learn more

about the natural wonders and manmade landmarks of the world with

Featured Content for Google Earth,” said John Hanke, director, Google

Earth and Maps. “We believe Google Earth is an excellent medium for

organizing and sharing the world’s geographic information and we

continue to explore opportunities to bring visually compelling and

informative content into Google Earth.”

Initial Featured Content for Google Earth partners include:

· United Nations Environmental Program – The UNEP overlay for

Google Earth includes successive time-stamped images illustrating 100

areas of extreme environmental degradation around the world. From the

deforestation of the Amazon to the fallout of raging forest fires in

Sub-Sahara Africa and the decline of the Aral Sea in Central Asia, this

before-and-after imagery spanning the past 30 years offers users an

online resource for learning about the environmental crisis zones

around the world.

· Discovery Networks World Tour – The Discovery overlay enables

travel enthusiasts and armchair tourists alike the opportunity to

virtually visit major world attractions, cities, and natural wonders

through Google Earth. Featuring streaming Discovery video segments,

users can learn about the history and significance of various world

landmarks, national parks, American and European cities, and African

locations. These multimedia vignettes introduce users to the wonders of

King Tut’s tomb in the Valley of Kings to the history of the gate of

the Itsukushima Shrine in Japan.

· National Park Service – The National Park Service overlay enables

users to learn more about the natural recreation opportunities in their

own backyard. This includes detailed park descriptions, information on

visitor facilities, and more than 10,000 miles of trails within all 58

US National Parks.

· Jane Goodall Institute – With the Jane Goodall Institute overlay

users can visit Fifi and the other Gombe preserve chimpanzees and

follow their daily exploits with the Institute’s “geo-blog” in Google

Earth. Updated daily, this geo-blog captures the work of the Jane

Goodall Institute, illustrating the Institute’s research on

chimpanzees and the effects of deforestation in Africa.

· Turn Here – This overlay features free city video guides for

travel, restaurants, hotels, local events and music around the globe.

Told from an insider’s perspective, these short films connect users

to information about the best pizza shop in New York’s Little Italy

to Pablo Picasso’s favorite hang-out in Halmstad, Sweden.

About Google Inc.

Google’s innovative search technologies connect millions of people

around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by

Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a

top web property in all major global markets. Google’s targeted

advertising program provides businesses of all sizes with measurable

results, while enhancing the overall web experience for users. Google

is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout the

Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information, visit

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