Google Launches Free 3D Map Software

Just like it did following its purchase of Picasa, Google has released a free version of the satellite imagery-based mapping software it acquired from Keyhole last October. Google Earth functions much like the company's online Maps service, enabling users to zoom in on an address or get driving directions overlayed on a 3D map.

"Google Earth utilizes broadband streaming technology and 3D graphics, much like a videogame, enabling users to interactively explore the world-- either their own neighborhood or the far corners of the globe," said Keyhole general manager John Hanke. Unlike Google Maps, Google Earth also lets users rotate their view to see terrain and buildings, and add annotations to maps. Google Earth can be downloaded for Windows; a Mac version is currently in development.

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