3D geobrowsers: Yahoo!’s options

Via The Map Room, news that Yahoo! Maps has added high resolution imagery of some 30 non-US cities. A cursory look seems to put the resolution there on par with that of Google Maps.

An intriguing question: Could it really be that Yahoo! is the only one of the top three search engine companies not working on a 3D geobrowser? Unlike Microsoft, they don’t have a flight simulator game to repurpose. There are only three options, then: Either Yahoo! thinks 3D mirror worlds are a fad (something which Microsoft clearly does not, qv. PhotoSynth and the purchase of Vexcel) or else Yahoo! is going to have to get itself the technology somehow.

Barring an in-house effort, I think they would have to license something from Skyline‘s SkylineGlobe, just like France’s GéoPortail is doing for their upcoming 3D content. It wouldn’t even have to be a stand-alone application, as in-browser 3D technology is now “good enough” to portray 3D virtual globes (with a much greater installed base, and no need for downloads). Or maybe Yahoo! would want to own the technology outright… Or might they just go the radical route and build something with NASA’s open-source World Wind?

In other words, it’s quiet over at Yahoo!, and I don’t want to assume it’s because they’re dropping the ball on 3D virtual globes.

3 thoughts on “3D geobrowsers: Yahoo!’s options”

  1. I wonder how many geobrowsers people will be happy with installing? Will this be like the media player wars, with hundreds of options, or more like the current web-browser wars, with only a small core group of major players. Obviously the technology is more difficult to develop – but of course that will change as more capable middleware is built up. This will be an interesting race…

  2. Or maybe Yahoo! could just do what Microsoft did and allow World Wind to display the imagery. Most likely would not be that hard to do. You just have to make the lawyers happy is all.

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