In the International Herald Tribune today, John Markoff explains the Web 2.0 and APIs to the mainstream reader, but also delves into possible revenue models for Google Maps and Google Earth.
He also looks at the competitive landscape:
Microsoft also plans to make use of satellite data, but its interface will be based on a Web browser, not separately downloaded software like Google Earth.
In contrast, Yahoo executives said they were skeptical about the value of satellite imagery, and the company is focusing instead on digital maps. Yahoo is hoping that Web users will emerge to overlay its maps with restaurant reviews and other kinds of contributions.
If that is the case, I’m afraid Microsoft and Yahoo are going to find they didn’t aim high enough. But let’s wait and see.
Microsoft employee and MSDN blogger Jason Sack is very impressed with Google Earth, But thinks he can do better (good, I too love competition). He also wonders if the application will ever be more than a niche product.
Yes of course it will. It will completely revolutionize how we mentally place information. Via Jason Sack’s comments, Dean Heckler provides an eloquent response:
A quick look at its file format reveals its simple to create your own content – the same feeling I got when I looked at HTML for the first time in 1995. This leads me to profess that Google Earth is not a niche application, but the first truly engaging Earth Browser.
The basic version of Google Earth is free — and plenty impressive. This makes life harder for those inhabiting the GIS Earth ogling competitive space. GIS professional and blogger James Fee weighs in.
In the amateur atlas aficionado space, I can’t help but feel that Software MacKiev’s gorgeously designed 3D Weather Globe & Atlas suffers from atrocious product launch timing. At any other time I’d have forked over the $40, but now I’d rather wait for the Mac version of Google Earth, even though Google Earth Mac likely won’t have the lovely interface MacKiev’s product does. That’s because in the end, levels of detail, the open standards and concomitant hackability (for example, the ability to add your own weather map overlays should you so choose, or anything else for that matter) are far more important. That said, I would love it were Google to buy MacKiev’s product for the GUI.