Google moves into virtual worlds
An article in Business 2.0 suggests that Google Earth may become a virtual world like Second Life – just that Google's World will be connected to real events, places and businesses:
You can already download user-generated layers that sit on top of Google's 3-D Earth and show you, for example, the location of celebrity houses or hiking trails or famous landmarks. One dating service has even started showing people looking for partners as a Google Earth layer.
Real estate companies have started showing off virtual versions of their buildings (for sale in the real world) on Google Earth. SketchUp allows them to build entire models of their apartments, right down to the microwave oven.
Where will it end? Google Earth general manager John Hanke has said that Google Earth was partly inspired by Snow Crash's metaverse. At a recent Silicon Valley conference, he described it as a "3-D virtual world."