German Design Firm Claims Willful Patent Infringement Over Google Earth

Google Earth A German design firm is claiming that Google and Google Earth have infringed its patent (USRE44550 E1) and is seeking triple damages under the notion that the infringement was intentional or willful. The firm, ART+COM ("ACI"), makes the following claims: The development history of Google Earth indicates knowledge and infringement by key Google employees Google Earth "bears remarkable similarities to ART+COM's commercial system, which was developed nearly a decade prior to Google's introduction of Google Earth" The claimed patent and method for rendering geographical objects (Terravis [...]

Microsoft Photosynth Creator Agüera y Arcas Joining Google

Blaise Agüera y Arcas Last night, the NY Times reported that the man primarily responsible for Microsoft's Photosyth product, Blaise Agüera y Arcas, is joining Google. Agüera y Arcas is not simply an engineer or technician, he offers a rare combination of technical expertise, design and product vision. Agüera y Arcas joined Microsoft when his 2003 startup, Seadragon, was acquired by Microsoft Research in 2006. The next year, that technology launched as Photosynth, one of the most innovative software tools or products Microsoft had then produced to date. Unfortunately, the Photosynth never caught on among [...]

The Return Of Pegman And Other New Google Maps Features

googlemaps The new full-screen Google Maps were announced this summer at Google's developer conference. However, the company is still rolling it out to users. Today on the Google LatLong blog, a number of new (or returning) features were introduced. Among them, the "Pegman" Street View icon is back. He/it appears in the lower right corner of the map. Click it and you'll see highlighted areas on the map (in blue) that give you access to Street View images. Mouse over those areas and you get a thumbnail preview. Zoom in and you see blue and yellow dots or circles. Blue dots indicate user-uploaded [...]

Google Updates Earth With “Tour Guide” & More 3D Imagery

google-earth-logo Google has released a new desktop version of Google Earth (version 7) that includes features previously released in its mobile version. The new desktop features include what Google calls a "tour guide" for more than 11,000 locations in over 110 countries and regions, and more 3D imagery for several cities around the world. The tour guide feature is cool, consisting of pre-created tours of points of interest near areas you may be viewing. Available tours appear as thumbnail images at the bottom of the screen. Clicking on a thumbnail starts a "flyover" of nearby historical and cultural point [...]

Google Updates Earth For iOS With More 3D, Adds Default City Location To PC Maps

In early June, at its "next dimension" mapping event, Google promised more complete 3D coverage in Google Earth. Yesterday it rolled out new versions of Earth for iOS devices. The list of fully rendered 3D cities includes: "Boulder, Boston, Charlotte, Lawrence (Kan.), Long Beach (Ca.), Los Angeles, Portland (Ore.), San Diego, Santa Cruz, Tampa, Tucson, and the San Francisco Bay Area (including the Peninsula and East Bay) as well as Rome, Italy." The images appear pretty crisp and render quickly. However Apple Insider does a side by side comparison of Google and Apple maps and argues [...]

Google Shows “Helicopter View” Of Routing On Maps

Google will now allow you to take a virtual aerial trip in Google Maps/Earth along a contemplated route. They've informally called it "helicopter view." It's a pretty cool feature, although perhaps not as "useful" as traffic information. You plot a route ("Get Directions") between two points and click a button and the animation takes over. Here are some shots from a San Francisco to Los Angeles driving trip I laid out: After you've picked two points, you initiate the "helicopter tour" by clicking a "3D" button adjacent to the routing information. This also works in Eur [...]

Ex-Burglars Believe Google StreetView, Facebook, Twitter & Foursquare Used To Plot Crimes

Screen shot 2011-09-28 at 6.20.52 AM There have been many stories in the past of criminals (of one sort or another) using Google, Foursquare and Facebook to target people who many not be home or, in the case of Google Earth and Street View, which homes to target. A recent survey of 50 convicted burglars by UK security firm Friedland Response and reported by the UK's Sky News argues that Google and social media tools are being used extensively to target people. Nearly 80 percent of the 50 ex-burglars surveyed strongly believed that Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare were being used by current criminals, and nearly 75 percent s [...]

Google Earth Builder: Enteprise Data In The Cloud (And On The Map)

At the Where 2.0 conference today Google announced "Google Earth Builder," which is a cloud-based solution for enterprises that want to render their data on maps. The idea is that enterprises of all stripes can upload and store all types of geospatial data on Google's servers. Proprietary enterprise data is rendered and published on Google Maps/Google Earth. Customers or employees can then view that data in either from any device that can render those applications. Users will also have access to all the Google data within Maps/Earth as well as their own. Here's Google's pitch abo [...]

Google’s Marrisa Mayer Talks New Role, LBS And Groupon

MediaBistro interviewed Marissa Mayer about her new role at Google and several related issues. Mayer says she's "no longer working on search." She's now got responsibility for a collection of things associated with Google Maps and local products and some of the company's mobile products. Mayer again mentions development of "contextual discovery" as one of her goals in this new role: "How can we use a user's location and context to help people find what they're looking for?" And one of the elements of this is "personalized recommendations" -- right now embodied in Google's HotPot effort. [...]

New Google Maps Legend Exposes More Content Including Google Earth

Last week we wrote about Google testing some new UI elements on Google Maps. Today these showed up for me (in Chrome, but not Firefox). Replacing static buttons for traffic, terrain, satellite and so on, the new controls and "legend" make the range of Google Maps features and content more discoverable. They also make Google Earth much more prominent and therefore accessible from within Google Maps. Here's the current array of buttons on Google Maps: Here are some images of the new icons/menu: There's no new content here to my knowledge, its availability is just [...]

Space To The Street With Google Earth 6 — Plus 3D Trees

Google Earth 6 is being introduced today. It includes a number of significant upgrades and improvements. Specifically, Street View has been more deeply integrated into Earth. Users now can fly "seamlessly" from space to the street wherever Google has Street View imagery. Interestingly, Google is also introducing 3D trees to make Google Earth's 3D environments more realistic. And finally, Google has added more historical imagery, which allows users to see earlier photography of the same location on a timeline (from 1945 to the present). Each of these changes makes sense and enriches the G [...]

Google Earth: This Is (1945) London

Google has added new historical imagery for London on Google Earth. It allows users to see images of how the city looked during recent history, in this case 1945 and various points forward to the present. Below are three "yesterday" and "today" images from the new London archive: You can access this archival photography by using the clock icon in the horizontal toolbar at the top of the map. A slider appears that shows the points in time for which there are images. Here's a tutorial on how to invoke historical imagery. Google has been adding more and more historical image [...]

Google Maps & Earth Add New Imagery … From A Kite

Despite the march of progress and technology, sometimes humans just do it better. That's the lesson to be learned from Frank Taylor, who's in the middle of a five-year sailing trip around the world, and whose photos from the journey are being picked up by Google and added into both Google Maps and Google Earth. No satellite needed. Frank is taking his photos with a camera attached to a low-flying kite. For real. Here's a look at how Frank's photos of Manihi island have been integrated into Google Maps: The darker spots are where Frank's photos can be seen; they're much higher re [...]

Google Earth Ocean Layer Available On iOS & Android

Google added the ocean layer to Google Earth back in February 2009. In August, Google added the layer to Google Maps for Android and now it is available on iOS, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPads. With this update you can now scan the ocean using an Android of iOS device to learn more about the ocean on the go. Also, iPhone 4s support the Retina display and Google has taken advantage of this to show higher resolution images of map data and ocean layers. Personally, I found using the ocean layer a bit confusing on the iPhone app. To bring up information on a specific ocean mark, I believ [...]

Touchy Subject: Google Unveils New Borders In Maps, Earth

National borders may not seem important to the average Google Maps user that's looking for a hotel or a place to eat. But when you're mapping the world's boundaries -- as Google and other map providers are -- getting them right or wrong can have international implications. With that in mind, Google has announced "significant improvements to our borders for over 60 countries and regions" in both Google Maps and Google Earth. One of the improvements is in accuracy as reflected and determined by the earth's surface. With higher resolution boundary data, Google can now better follow natu [...]

Google Earth Updates For PC & Mobile, Adds Great iPad Version

Google has announced Google Earth 5.2 for the PC and 3 for iOS with native iPad support. There are many changes, detailed here, for 5.2 -- the biggest of which is probably the ability to open a browser within Google Earth. You can click a button on the top nav and a full browser slides in (see below). Anything that you would then do in a browser can be done within Google Earth. This adds convenience and utility and truly makes good on the "geo-browser" concept. Google simultaneously updated the mobile version of Earth for iOS and added a native iPad version. I've never found Goog [...]

Google Earth Added To Google Maps, No Download Needed

Google has started to combine its Earth and Maps products with the announcement that Earth view is available to all Google Maps users. To see 3D imagery in Google Maps, you'll need the Google Earth plugin which anyone can now use; it's been available to developers since 2008. There's also a new "Earth" tab on Google Maps, right next to the Satellite and Map tabs. Here's a how-to video that Google has published showing how it all works. On a semi-related note, Google has also launched a Hubble Telescope tour layer for Google Earth, in honor of the telescope's 20th anniversary. [...]

Volcano “Ash Plume” Captured By NASA, On Google Earth

When I heard yesterday that a volcano in Iceland had erupted and that airports across Europe were closed I thought it was a joke. But unfortunately it wasn't. The volcano, Eyjafjallajökull (no that's not misspelled), sent ash out into the sky for miles. The ash apparently creates a dangerous condition for planes, and so most airports across Europe grounded flights, which is continuing today. Calling the travel situation "chaos," the NY Times reports that the domino effect of these closures may disrupt travel for weeks. If you're interested to see satellite images of the volcanic ash in [...]

Google Earth Adds World War II Imagery

The Google LatLong Blog announced the addition of World War II imagery to Google Earth. Now you can compare, side by side, the earth as it is today versus how it was during World War II. Google said: Images taken in 1943 show the effect of wartime bombing on more than 35 European towns and cities. Imagery for Warsaw, which was heavily destroyed at the time, is available from both years 1935 and 1945. They remind us all of the devastating impact of war on the people in those cities and also the remarkable way in which urban environments are reconstructed and regenerated over time. Her [...]

Google Earth iPhone App 2.0 Available Soon

A new version of Google Earth for the iPhone is due soon, and among its new features is one with a personal touch: the ability to see maps you've created and/or saved in Google Maps. To make this happen, the new Google Earth iPhone app will add the ability to login to your Google account -- a feature that could open up additional personalization doors in the future. Google's announcement today includes an example from product manager Dan Birch using the new feature to track a pair of attempts to summit Mount Ritter, in which the combination of GPS, KML, and My Maps were used together to sho [...]

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