Google Earth Launches

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Google released its free Google Earth mapping product yesterday. The company is competing with a similar technology from Amazon's A9.com yellow pages, letting users zoom in on street-level views of businesses.


Based on technology from Keyhole, Mountain View, CA, a firm that Google acquired last October, consumers can use Google Earth to zoom in from a far-away "space" view to street-level views of buildings and terrain.


"Google Earth utilizes broadband streaming technology and 3D graphics, much like a video game, enabling users to interactively explore the world -- either their own neighborhood or the far corners of the globe," said John Hanke, general manager at Keyhole.


Google, also based in Mountain View, is emphasizing the new technology's local search capabilities for both Web and mobile device 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," according to a Google statement.


Google Earth users can obtain 3D views of buildings in major U.S. cities; 3D views of terrain, such as mountains and canyons, worldwide; video playback of driving directions; and rotation of the terrain and building views.


The download of the basic product is free. Users then are charged $20 yearly if they order Google Earth Plus, which has advanced mapping capabilities. Google is also offering Google Earth Pro, a mapping product for commercial use touting high-resolution printing and Geographic Information Systems data import capabilities, for $400 a year.


Christine Blank covers online marketing and advertising, including e-mail marketing and paid search, for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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