Impressive as Google Earth is, on two occasions I’ve shown the application to someone only to have them respond, disappointedly, “Oh, you mean this isn’t a live view of Earth?”
Neither person would have been able to tell apart their megabytes from their megahertz if pressed, so it’s understandable that they are oblivious to the technological machinations that would need to be performed before Google Earth might go “live”. We might be able to put a man on the moon, but streaming terabytes of data per second to Earth is quite another matter.
Not that people aren’t working on it. SearchEngineWatch points to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald about Astrovision, a company that purports to be working towards exactly that kind of capability.
Registration required for the article, but SearchEngineWatch’s take is well worth the read. (I just don’t get their concern with privacy. Intelligence services already have this capacity. Democratizing access to such technology can only be a good thing. Who watches the watchers, etc…)