Web 3.0 Watch: Google Earth

Someday, hopefully soon, I will publish a chapter in a book about Web 2.0 and education on the future of the Internet.  My article passed about three rounds of review, but I haven’t heard from them in a while.  I hope the chapter gets publish before all of the predictions in there come true.  At the current rate that technology is accelerating… I’m not sure.

There are tons of predictions out there, but I chose to highlight a few that seem to be gaining traction.  One of those predictions was the ability to visit an online virtual recreation of our planet that includes historical views of certain areas.  Google Earth 5.0 seems to be bringing this prediction to reality.

The historical view of Rome in Google Earth has been blogged about here and elsewhere.  Google Earth 5.0 adds an interesting feature that acts as a time line slider – allowing users to view changes over time.  This is probably based on historical satellite imagery, but someday I am sure the virtual Rome idea will catch on and some of these flat images will go 3-D.

Of course, I have to mention that the newest version also adds ocean floors to virtual Earth.  So now Google does actually own the whole planet – at least virtually.  Physical domination is probably the next step with the (sure to be) eminent launch of Google World Government.  Keep an eye on gwg.google.com.

I think many of us in the education world were hoping that Google Lively would one day integrate with Google Earth, so that you could actually use Google Earth like a virtual world.  Maybe there is still hope for that.  Google also killed their Dodgeball project only to turn around and announce the launch of Google Latitude… which does about the exact same thing.  Maybe… just maybe.. we can hope for the same resurrection of Lively inside of Google Earth.

Matt Crosslin
Matt is currently the Learning Innovation Coordinator with the UT Arlington LINK Research Lab. His research focuses on Learning Theory, Innovation, and learner empowerment. Matt holds a Ph.D. in Learning Technologies from the University of North Texas, a Master of Education in Educational Technology from UT Brownsville, and a Bachelors of Science in Education from Baylor University. His research interests include instructional design, learning pathways, sociocultural theory, heutagogy, virtual reality, and open networked learning. He has a background in instructional design and teaching at both the secondary and university levels and has been an active blogger and conference presenter. He also enjoys networking and collaborative efforts involving faculty, students, administration, and anyone involved in the education process.

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