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[Ars] Google Earth in Browser is Fast but Ugly

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Google today sped ahead in the web search domain once again with the release of the Google Earth API. Yes, the recent improvements to Live Maps were impressive, but today the search giant has put Google Earth into the browser. Microsoft made this move first, completely disregarding Google's client release of Google Earth, with its Virtual Earth API and browser plug-in. Google's Windows-only release today seems to focus on 3D, and speed. The performance is noticeably superior to Microsoft's, but there are still obvious kinks that need to be worked out.

After installing the Windows browser plug-in, I had to restart the browser, install an Active-X control, install the plug-in again, and restart the browser again. It seems that the plug-in doesn't like telling Google that it is already installed and working. Once it decided it was ready though, the impression I got was that it was essentially the Google Maps API, which can be used to create map mashups and entire new applications, with a touch of Google Earth. Google wants web developers to start making 3D web applications; those interested can now embed their own Google Earth applications in their websites.

As one of the many examples shows, JavaScript controls allow manipulating the camera (view), and creating 3D objects anywhere on the surface of our planet, or the universe, if you choose Sky mode. The applications seem to react very smoothly, but almost everything is blurry. Ugliness aside, it should be noted that existing Google Maps mashups can be adapted to use the 3D plug-in which the addition of a simple line of Javascript: insert the G_SATELLITE_3D_MAP map type into your MapsAPI initialization code.

While I have yet to see anything like this implemented, I imagine that one of the things now possible will be an application that literally walks you through how to get somewhere. Those step-by-step instructions from Google Maps are useful, yes, but visual learners may soon be able to literally "watch" themselves leave home and arrive at a particular destination, right before they get out of the house and actually depart. The potential with this release is certainly there, but hopefully Google gets its act together and doesn't sacrifice too much quality for speed.
Source [Ars Technica]
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post #2 of 2
I think instead of Big Brother is watching, it should be google is watching Why we would need a browser pluggin for this is beyond me. Just get the standalone program. I doubt someone uses it enough to need a pluggin for it.
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