Google Globe‘s Globe Assistant dynamic network link has just gotten some added functionality. If you already have it installed you will notice that the Assistant now checks a BBC newsfeed for stories inside the bounding box of your field of vision and then displays those, in addition to the location entries submitted by users at the site.
The Globe Assistant actually does some pretty nifty stuff via that bounding box “API”: If you fly out too far, it will tell you you need to zoom in before it can deliver content. It will also tell you if no news is available in your field of view. In other words, the network link delivers KML in response to your location that is rather more varied than what I’ve seen until now.
At the same time, however, the user submitted content does not seem to be vetted for quality or duplicates, and is business friendly, welcoming company plugs rather than considering them to be spam. At first sight this might make the value of the Globe Assistant’s content a little dubious, but then you realise that the Assistant is actually a demo for a product, showcased at GlobeAssistant.com: Globe Assistant is being marketed to travel agents, real estate companies and news organizations as a means of delivering private or specialized content to potential customers and readers. They’d buy their own Globe Assistant that links to their own data (including RSS feeds), and send that to people they want to reach. (I think that’s the plan.)
If the interactivity is as robust as it seems, this could prove a nice little turnkey solution for realtors, and GoogleGlobe’s Erwin Nikkels may well become the first person to actually make any money off the Google Earth application:-)
(Though, if I may be so bold, in that case the site may want to consider differentiating itself a little more from the Google look. The first time I visited I thought it was a Google site, until I read the small print a few days later.)