The Official Google Blog announces another upgrade to the quality of the imagery available in Google Earth. Vast swathes of the UK are now at 6-inch resolution, and people are clearly visible in most cities.
Additionally, Google Local’s data is brought up to date with Google Earth’s imagery, and there are also two new zoom levels for Local.
But only for Local. The API’s imagery has not been updated, at press time. Take, for example, the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol. Visit the bridge with Tagzania, and you see the old imagery. Click on the Google Local link just below that map, and you’ll see the new imagery. Scroll to the bottom of the page, and you will see a KML button for the equivalent view in Google Earth.
We’re used to it in Google Earth, but remember that when it comes to the online mapping space, Google Local is still, after almost a year, the only offering with detailed global content. Any developer using something other than the Google Local API for a collaborative mashup automatically limits herself to a US user base. (But Google is good that way — witness the extreme language customization available in Google Search, a feature used by legions of non-native English speakers.)
[Update 2006-01-25 00.11 UTC: Word is that Google Earth did not in fact get an image upgrade, The blog post announcement is merely worded ambiguously.]