How is Google Earth free?

Discussion in 'Mapping & Navigation' started by rob feature, Jul 10, 2009.

  1. rob feature

    rob feature Domain Ranger

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    It's the best thing since air conditioning and beer and gasoline

    And it's free.

    And Google makes money.

    I ain't bitchin', but I don't get how it's so free.

    Maybe they'll sell us data instead of having it stored on a server and available only by broadband? I'd buy the US version....just sayin' :deal
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  2. dmulk

    dmulk Been here awhile

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    Part of what makes Google such a great company to work for is that they sponsor "free thinkers". They believe in a pretty great business methodology: You work on what google wants you to work on for 80% of your time and the balance of time, you work on whatever interests you personally.

    They've been know to setup labs for their employees in the parking lot to support the personal experiments.

    If you invent / develop a technology that shows promise.... guess what they tell you to spend your time on...

    I have a couple friends that work for google and have considered applying there myself.... but I already work in a pretty great field (video game industry) and pretty much have the same type of setup.

    Anyway... google is pretty great. :clap

    <D>
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  3. SnowMule

    SnowMule [angry moth noises]

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    They make their $$ on advertisements. Pay-per-click kinda thing.

    Google offers some hardware too, they have a search appliance companies can install on their network that march through terabytes of company data, pick out important keywords, and make it all searchable. Hardware and software all come with a price tag.
    #3
  4. xymotic

    xymotic Long timer

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    Google Docs is worth twice the price too!
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  5. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z Long timer

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    And SketchUp

    I've always wondered how the internet browsers make money. Big war to be the dominant browser, yet I can't see what difference it makes whether I use IE, Netscape, Firefox, Opera, Chrome, or whatever. There aren't any browser ads.

    Jamie
    #5
  6. Zecatfish

    Zecatfish XTique Rider

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    I learned more about Google Earth from another inmate here that works with GIS.

    Google didn't create Google Earth, it started as a DOD project called KeyHole and when the military finished doing what ever with it, they moved it over the private sector and I think Google either bought it, or was donated it to them because they had the resources to continue it.

    Now why or how come its till free I have no idea.

    Google gets upset if you use their maps off-line. I've been using gpsViking to plot out trails from USGS maps and it had an option to d/l images from Google Maps Satellite, and Google did not like it. They will log the ip and block your access to their db of files if you d/l them to quick. Then if you try to view them in the web browser theres a note instead of maps reminding you of their terms of use.:lol3 You'll be blocked from Google maps images for 24 to 48 hours.

    You can get overhead pictures with it from terraserver but they're black and white and honestly not as good.

    I'm waiting on a little Casio Fiva Tablet pc to get here. Its smaller than a VHS tape and I plan on carrying it on the bike with gpsViking, and images loaded to it for use on the trail. I was going to replace the hard drive in it with an IDE/Compact Flash Card adapter so it will be a solid state drive on the cheap.
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  7. munchmeister

    munchmeister Grow'd Up Mini Trail

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    Revenue: $2.12 billion
    "Enterprise Value" : 113.14 billion
    50 day moving average stock price: $417.48

    How else ya gonna spend all that dough? Google leads the way, IMHO, in doing great things with all that money. Earth is a great example, as is SketchUp (I love SketchUp !!! but they did not invent that either. But they did make it free)

    This reply does not constitute financial advice. :rofl
    #7
  8. pgenera

    pgenera telephone hero

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    There's an enterprise version of earth you can pay (lots) of money for as well, which helps the consumer version be free.

    And yes, Google bought what became Earth by acquiring a company called Keyhole, which I believe was a start up at the time. I don't think the military was ever involved - it gets confusing because the code name for US spy satellite was keyhole for a while.

    --
    Phil
    (when I'm not riding, I work at Google)
    #8
  9. VStromNC

    VStromNC DNS/DNF

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    The basic business model for Google is to offer all these free services to consumers, including the upcoming Chrome Operating System that supposedly is going to be much better than Windows or Mac OS, and once Google has you locked into using all there products, they can offer a pay version that will be an upgrade to the free version.
    #9
  10. munchmeister

    munchmeister Grow'd Up Mini Trail

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    OK by me. Still better than the Microsoft model of endless, expensive upgrades to crap like Vista and Word 2007. Something got into their Kool Aid in Redmond. Somebody like Google is, hopefully, gonna teach 'em about competitive products that actually work better, not worse. Not that Apple hasn't already done that. And I've been using Earth for some time, just fine with the free version, ditto for SketchUp. I'm using SketchUp (FREE, did I mention FREE !!!) to model a pitched roof addition to my aging house, for the building permit. I'm gonna take my laptop down and show it to the inspector just for fun, so I can spin my modeled house around and move in and out of the new roof system, like I was the proverbial fly on the wall. This is such cool software, I just gotta play with it. You go Google !! :freaky

    <object width=425 height=318><param name="movie" value="http://cdn.smugmug.com/ria/ShizVidz-2008120101.swf" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" /><param name="flashVars" value="s=aT01OTA5NjExMjEmaz1EeFpjQSZhPTg5MDYyMDhfcUJrUUYmdT1GLXJpZGVyJmU9MQ==" /><embed src="http://cdn.smugmug.com/ria/ShizVidz-2008120101.swf" flashVars="s=aT01OTA5NjExMjEmaz1EeFpjQSZhPTg5MDYyMDhfcUJrUUYmdT1GLXJpZGVyJmU9MQ==" width=425 height=318 type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowFullScreen="true" allowScriptAccess="always"></embed></object>
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  11. trailrider383

    trailrider383 867-5309

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    I have always wondered that same thing. I just figured they would let you get dependent on it while offering it for free and then "bang" now you have to pay for it. That's what happened to "Topozone". I used to use it to look at topo maps for free and then they wanted to charge for it. Now since you have brought attention to it, they are going to start charging for Google Earth. Thanks a lot mister. :dood :D
    #11
  12. KellyC

    KellyC TimeKeeper

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    Like others have said the cosumer version of GE is the tip of the iceberg for Google. They provide an API (more so with Google Maps) that developers can consume and build into their existing applications (in-house, behind the firewall, or externally facing). This is where their business model is focused. The GE model that we all use for fun is primarly a tool to establish the brand as well as get people thinking about how they could apply spatial thinking in their work lives.

    GE plays in my professional world (GIS) and has helped shed new light on the geospatial industry by helping consumers think spatially and apply geospatial technology in their everyday lives. The idea is that a consumer who uses GE to map out routes to his favorite fishing holes will make the connection that he could also use GE to pull in demographic data, traffic data, and realestate parcels to help him make a better decision about where to site his next franchise in his business life.

    Additionally, in enterprise situations or in a B2B context, GE can act as a low cost viewer that displays data/information created by more robust GIS applications. So a company like Verizon may have invested in a large GIS server deployment, can deploy viewers like GE to their knowledge workers so they can view and consume GIS data created by GIS professionals.

    I've worked in the GIS industry for 10 years now and GE is an amazing piece of software. It was a real kick in the pants, that's for sure.
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  13. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z Long timer

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    Interestingly, exactly the opposite has happened. Google Earth Plus used to be the consumer upgrade with a subscription fee. It was discontinued last year after its extra features were included in the free version of Google Earth.

    Note that there is a Pro version of Google Earth which costs $400, but even that version has become cheaper and included more features since its initial release.

    Jamie
    #13
  14. KellyC

    KellyC TimeKeeper

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    And you guys are correct, Keyhole was a start up and a late -90s player in the geospatial industry and competitor to ESRI (who I work for).

    Keyhole had a application that basically rendered imagery as a sphere or globe. It was called Earth Viewer and later became Google Earth after Google purchased Keyhole.

    For what it's worth, and I'm not eating my companies dogfood, several of the players have 3D imagery viewers simular to GE.

    ESRI's viewer is called ArcGIS Explorer and can be downloaded here:
    http://www.esri.com/software/arcgis/explorer/index.html

    For those of you who are into all things "geo."

    Good thread, btw.
    #14
  15. a1fa

    a1fa Throttle Jockey™

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    [​IMG]
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  16. technician

    technician Adventurer

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    ^ :rofl

    How do you guys like GE compared to Live! Maps (now Bing maps I think)? I've been using Live! Maps because the data appears a lot more up-to-date than Google Maps Sat data.
    #16