by CIO Staff

Google Earth Offers Streaming Video Via Discovery (UPDATED)

Apr 07, 20063 mins

Since this story was originally posted, it has been amended to correct the location of Yellowstone National Park.

Web surfers who use Google’s satellite-mapping software now have the option of viewing streaming video clips from a number of well-known landmarks and locales, including Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park and Colorado/Utah’s Dinosaur National Monument, thanks to Discovery Communications, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Launched yesterday, the new feature represents the first time Google has pushed video content on the Google Earth site, according to The Journal. There are currently only 10 clips of U.S. national parks available, but over the coming six weeks, Discovery plans to increase the number of clips on the site to include 50 destinations such as the Roman Coliseum and the Great Wall of China, according to The Journal.

By 2007, video clips of some 100 locations will be available on Google Earth, and Discovery said it may include non-English language video in the future, The Journal reports.

Video content is increasingly being picked by websites all over the world, due largely to the rapid adoption of broadband Internet service, allowing more users to access the content without having to test their patience waiting for it to download via a phone line or cable modem.

The video clips are usually a few minutes long, and they’re pulled from Discovery’s vast collection of almost 100,000 hours of footage, according to The Journal.

Users can view the clips by clicking on Discovery Globe logos attached to specific locations on a map, The Journal reports.

Google first launched the satellite-mapping service in 2005, and users already have the option of looking at images of various landmarks including gas stations and banks, according to The Journal.

John Hanke, Google Maps’ director, says the service is the latest effort in its plan to make Google Earth a “browser for the planet,” The Journal reports.

Hanke also noted that the arrangement between the two companies is not exclusive and that Google is still open to offering content from additional providers, according The Journal.

Each company’s potential revenue associated with the video service will not be shared, and Discovery says it plans to bring in cash by sending advertisements along with its video clips, and by offering extended video for a fee, The Journal reports.

For related news coverage, read San Fran Selects Google, EarthLink for Wi-Fi.

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