The idea of an application with a Google name on it comes across as just another sand pebble on an expansive beach. There are so many programs that exist under the “Google” title that when “Google Earth” is said the immediate connection is simply to the Google search engine. Others may think of the other popular Google programs besides the search engine capability like Google Maps, Google Imagery, or Google Videos. Though a term like “Google Earth” makes it appear to be another mask of a many-masked machine, Google Earth stands alone in its capabilities and purpose.
Michael Jones, the chief technologist for Google Earth, claims that Google Earth was created with the people in mind. He comments, “We thought it would be great if everyday people could use this spatial knowledge to make better decisions. … So we set out to build an Earth browser to help people better understand their planet” (Wagner, 2006). Jones’ goal, to make a map which will provide a greater comprehension and understanding of the world, is lauded by John Hanke, the head of the Earth and Maps sector of Google. Hanke calls Google Earth a “map of historical significance” and goes on to explain that, “It is going to be a map of the world that is more detailed than any map that’s ever been created” (The Economist, 2007).
Google Earth is not merely a type of search engine or route creator. It is an expansive database of knowledge that helps people to view the world and catch glimpses of far-off lands. The capability to view an all-encompassing, 3-D portrayal of the world through satellite imagery has not been available to the general public until now. So, do not be confused by the fact Google Earth is one of many programs stamped by the Google logo. This particular mask of Google called Google Earth is separate and stands alone in its class as an accessible, available for the general public, virtual globe.
For further research:
To read more about the intention of Michael Jones with Google Earth:
Wagner, M. (Interviewer) & Jones, M. (Interviewee). (2006). The View from Google
Earth [Interview transcript]. Retrieved from
To learn more about Google Earth and its uses, background, and applications:
The Economist. (2007, September 6). The world on your desktop. The
Economist, 384(8545), 17-21.