May 29 2008 / by Alvis Brigis
Category: The Web Year: 2008 Rating: 7 Hot
Google 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 of the 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 places.
Of course, this has already been possible via the stand-alone Earth API for quite some time, but the difference now is that we’ll be far more likely to encounter and find useful little Earth windows as we surf the regular ole web.
Over the long-term, Google’s move means that the company remains the leader in the simulated social Earth race and that it will win over a huge quantity of developers looking to capitalize on the platform. With Microsoft looking to close the gap with their own competing Virtual Earth platform, this is a very big deal as far as claiming coveted freebie developer hours.
Though Google’s got some cushion, already having integrated both its News and Street View products into Earth, the company seems to be wasting no time methodically building the ultimate Earth reference tool described in Stephenson’s Snow Crash.