Google has renamed its Keyhole 2 LT mapping application Google Earth, added several features to it and made it a free download, the company announced Tuesday.
Like its predecessor, Google Earth is a PC-based application that uses satellite
images to render maps, but it is available for free whereas Keyhole 2 LT cost $29.95
for a one-year license, said John Hanke, Keyhole general manager.
Moreover, Google Earth is integrated with Google's local index of U.S., U.K. and
Canada business listings, which means it can mark on a map the location of all sorts
of businesses, such as restaurants, bars, pharmacies and banks, a feature not
available in Keyhole 2 LT.
Another new feature in Google Earth is its ability to deliver driving directions and
overlay the route on the map. Unlike Keyhole 2 LT, Google Earth also has a "playback"
feature that "drives" the user along the route on the map.
A version called Google Earth Plus has additional features such as data import and
annotation capabilities and costs $20 per year. For business use, there is Google
Earth Pro, which costs $400 per year, a price reduction from the comparable Keyhole
product which cost $599 per year.
Google Earth currently runs only on Windows 2000 and Windows XP.