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Thursday, September 14, 2006
Google Maps Spotlight Earth's Changes

Google began showcasing the world's natural wonders, famous haunts, and man-made changes on its global mapping service.

Google Earth offered "Featured Content" ranging from details of the Three Gorges Dam in China and King Tut's tomb in Egypt to Itsukushima Shrine in Japan and Pablo Picasso's favorite social spot in Sweden.

"We are excited to provide users with the opportunity to learn more about the natural wonders and manmade landmarks of the world," said John Hanke, director Google Earth and Maps.

"We believe Google Earth is an excellent medium for organizing and sharing the world's geographic information and we continue to explore opportunities to bring visually compelling and informative content into Google Earth."

Google created "multimedia overlays" that users can trigger by clicking icons that appear on a virtual globe.

Icons designated natural wonders, major landmarks or cities, and environmental changes such as deforestation in the Amazon and a shrinking glacier in Iceland.

Pop-up boxes provide images, brief information, and links to websites with more details.

The Mountain View, California, based online search giant's partners in the project included the United Nations Environmental Program; Discovery Networks World Tour; Jane Goodall Institute; Turn Here travel guides, and the US National Park Service.

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