A week or so ago a co-worker of mine showed me a program he was playing with- Google Earth. Its a beta, and I had heard of it before, but it hadn’t really intrigued me very much until Dan showed it to me.
I guess I am a contrarian. Google is “cool” and “happening”: if Google does something, all the “cool” and “happening” people notice. I’m not in the “cool and happening” herd, and I guess without even noticing it I was boycotting their mooing. But Google Earth looked sort of neat: imagine a visual tour of earth based on detailed satellite images, including a searchable database of places.
I installed Google Earth this morning on my home computer and spent a happy hour finding things like my house, the mall nearby, and other landmarks. I was able to approximately date the images by looking at construction activities: most of the images for our area (Lower Mainland, British Columbia, Canada) appear to be about two years old. That’s not bad, but a long way from anything approaching “real time”: don’t expect to see your car parked out in front of your house from last night.
My wife asked me an obvious question: its neat, but what use is it? I can see uses, like geomapping data on crimes or urban development studies for example. Mostly, though, for the average user, its just fun.