Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, has big plans for Google Earth. According to a report from Reuters, Alphabet wants users to post “millions” of stories, videos and photos to the platform as part of upcoming social changes.
Specifics regarding the new features, how the whole thing will work and be monitored, are yet to be disclosed, but seemingly this is just a lighthearted way to get more people interacting with Google’s globe exploration tool.
“The story of your family history, the story of your favorite hiking trip – it could be anything. It doesn’t have to be profound,” Google Earth Director Rebecca Moore told Reuters at an event in Sao Paulo on Tuesday.
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This news follows the arrival of the new version of Google Earth in April, a revamp that was two years in the making. Among the improvements Google delivered was the new “Voyager” feature which allows users to take part in virtual tours of famous locations, supported by photos, maps and other information. Google is clearly making steps to increase user engagement and make the platform more interactive.
Regarding monetization, Moore ruled out advertising on the platform in future and asserted that Google/Alphabet isn’t seeking to make it profitable. “Google Earth is our gift to the world,” she told Reuters. “In terms of budget, Google has nice revenue from advertising, and not everything Google does has to make money.”
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The core idea of Google Earth, letting humanity explore the planet it inhabits, has huge appeal. And yet, unlike many of Google’s other IPs, the company hasn’t invested as heavily in maintaining user engagement. This is no doubt linked to the aforementioned lack of monetization, which is why it’s all the more exciting to learn that Alphabet wants to develop it such an original way.
As for the timeline, it will take another “two to three years” before this version of Google Earth goes live. We’ll hopefully have more information on this soon.
What are your thoughts on the potential of these changes to Google Earth? Let us know in the comments.