Google Takes to the Sky with Map Service

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2005-04-05 Print this article Print

Google integrates satellite and aerial images from its Keyhole acquisition into its online mapping service.

Google is heading skyward with its online maps, providing users with a birds-eye view of a state, city or street corner. The search company late Monday incorporated satellite images into Google Maps, its beta mapping service released in February. Beyond viewing more traditional topographical maps of an area, users now can choose to see an aerial view. The aerial view comes from Keyhole Inc., a startup 3-D mapping company that Google acquired in October. Keyhole uses satellite and high-resolution aerial images to render its maps.
The satellite option is also available on Google Local, which provides maps displaying the location of local businesses as part of its search results. The feature marks Googles first public integration of Keyholes technology on its site.
Google added the satellite view so that users could see how an area actually looks rather than simply viewing a roadmap, John Hanke, Googles general manager of Keyhole, wrote in the Google Blog. "We cant promise youll never miss another freeway exit, but we do think that Google Maps [plus] Keyhole gives you a great way to see and explore your world," Hanke wrote. Google is continuing to offer Keyholes desktop software, which provides higher-resolution images and can display a 3-D view of images, a Google spokesman said. Google isnt alone in trying to tie in images of local areas and businesses with search. In January, Inc., the search subsidiary of Inc., began an effort called Block View to show images of local businesses and neighborhoods as part of its Yellows Pages service. Last week, Google also began an experimental service for Google Maps that displays information about local transportation services. Called Google Ride Finder, the service maps positions of ride-sharing services such as taxis, limousines or shuttle services and provides contact information. So far, the ride-sharing service is available for a limited number of cities and is part of Google Labs, Googles site for demonstrating prototypes. In other search news, Ask Jeeves Inc. on Tuesday expanded into the Spanish-language market. The Oakland, Calif.-based company announced a beta version of a Spanish search site, the first of a series of European launches it expects to make throughout the year. The Spanish site joins Ask Jeeves two other international search sites for Japan and the United Kingdom. Ask Jeeves in Spanish is expected to formally launch in the summer. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on enterprise search technology.
Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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