Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Byte: Google Earth

I first heard about this last week, thanks to my friend Richard, but I fear he missed the mark when going for the "Your search returned no results" gag. I would have used the search "Weapons of Mass Destruction, Iraq", myself...

I got around to downloading it yesterday morning, and promptly lost a whole morning's work to the joy of looking up friends' houses, and giggling at the tiny cars on the Champs Elysées. Google Earth is a staggering piece of technology. Even my normally Luddite girlfriend was amazed when I showed her a satellite photo of her parents' house, and you could see the cars parked outside... Unfortunately, not everywhere has that kind of high resolution coverage yet. The village where my parents live is an unidentifiable smudge on the map - the only way I was able to find it at all was to use the Roads overlay. I expect that this will be a product that will be continually upgraded over time, because some of the satellite images appear to be quite old. Wembley Stadium, for example, appears be the old one, with the Twin Towers, not the new stadium with the Arch.

It'll be fascinating to see Google Earth evolve and improve over the next few years. The thought of being able to take a virtual flyby down any street in the world is a mind-boggling one. I wonder if it will affect the tourist industry any...

It's still in Beta, so be patient with the download link, as there's been a massive demand for it. Rest assured, the wait is worth it.
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