Maps and Google Earth are separate services but I see them getting more closely aligned over time. This announcement
about Google Earth
now supporting multimedia features shows the search giant is not taking its numerous eyes off any of the balls it is juggling.
Google Earth now supports overlays from a variety of content providers which allow users to click on an area of the Earth to see more about the location.
Initial Google Earth content partners include the United Nations Environmental Program
, which will provide an overlay including successive time-stamped images illustrating 100 areas of extreme environmental degradation throughout the world. Before-and-after imagery spanning 30 years will be included to offer users an online resource to learn about worldwide environmental crisis zones.
While on the topic of educational overlays -- the Discovery Networks World Tour
overlay will enable users to virtually visit major world attractions, natural wonders and cities. It offers streaming video segments in which users may learn about the history of world landmarks, national parks, a number of African locations and American and European cities.
The National Park Service overlay allows users to learn about natural recreation opportunities including detailed park descriptions, visitor facilities information and more than 10,000 miles of trails within the 58 US national parks.