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Google Earth, Maps Spike Enterprise Punch

In the consumer space, Google Earth and Google Maps go hand-in-hand. Now the same goes for Google Earth for the enterprise.

Business and government users of Google Earth for the enterprise can now view their organizations' geospatial data in 2-D on a browser behind the firewall.

As a part of the product upgrade, Google opened a "special" Maps API for the enterprise. That means administrators can now embed the Google Maps 2-D view into any Web application and create mashups with information from external databases, spreadsheets and other data sources, Noah Doyle, product manager for enterprise geo products, told internetnews.com.

Doyle said that Google Earth for the enterprise prices will continue to start around $20,000 and vary depending on the complexity of each project.

Other new features for Google Earth for the enterprise that Doyle highlighted include an enhanced search framework, which allows integration with multiple search services through Java plug-ins, including the Google Search Appliance.

Google also upgraded the product to include a regions-based KML imagery data processing tool for creating super overlays, which Doyle said will enable organizations to publish large collections of images.

Doyle also said the new product is faster and safer. He noted time savings of up to 10x for vector processing (points/lines/polygons) and computational savings of more than two times for server responses to imagery data requests. Industry standard security methodologies will be supported for implementation of LDAP and SSL.

Two organizations have already put the new product to work, Doyle said.

Dell uses Google Earth to manage their customer service operation for their top-tier enterprise customers. With the upgrade, each Dell service representative can access geo-located information related to the customer on the phone.

Doyle said the Department of Homeland Security, partnered with the state of Alabama, also uses Google Earth for the enterprise to provide geo-located information to first responders. The new Maps API will allow those emergency workers to access what's become a rich set of data from the browser.

Google last announced upgrades for its Maps and Earth products at Where 2.0 in late May. During the show, Google Earth and Maps Director John Hanke announced Street View and Mapplets. He also called for more standardization of the Geoweb.