Google is partnering with Discovery Networks, the US National Park Service and others to enrich its Google Earth mapping application with text and multimedia about geographic locations.
With its Featured Content for Google Earth, announced Wednesday, Google will provide links to articles, images, blog postings and videos that inform about topics like the environment, cities, attractions, parks and landmarks. Other partners include the United Nations Environmental Program and the Jane Goodall Institute.
This is the latest in a string of enhancements for Google Earth, one of the company's most popular products. In recent months, Google ported the application to Linux and the Mac OS and integrated it with the company's SketchUp 3D design tool. Google Earth's user interface was also overhauled and its index of images significantly expanded.
Google Earth, lauded by users and industry experts, is a free, downloadable application that taps into a massive database of satellite images. Its video game-like interface lets users 'fly' around the globe, zooming in and out of cities.
Google acquired the software in 2004 when it bought Keyhole Corp. The Google Earth product family also includes more advanced, fee-based versions of the application designed for commercial uses.