The Google I/O conference is in full swing with all sorts of goodies coming out. But, what’s really cool and going to affect how you view the world and map-based web apps in the future is the announcement of the Google Earth browser plugin.

No longer will you be isolated to two dimensions of movement with Google Maps. Google earth is all 3D and is one more step in bringing 3D visualization and usablility to the good ol’ internet. Plus, it’s open to developers to grow and manipulate.

“…there’s never been a way to build your own 3D web applications using Google Earth, the way you can with Google Maps… until now. you can…import 3D models from the web and overlay them anywhere on the planet …build 3D Google Sky mashups. You can also enable 3D buildings with a single line of JavaScript, …in the hopes that you’ll build the next great geo-based 3D application, and change (yet again) how we view the world.”

What does this mean for 3D Apps?
Right now this is just for mash-ups and visualization. We’re not creating 3D online yet. If nothing else, this plugin opens up the ideas that having large amounts of accessible 3D data online is possible. Building graphical program functionality into a web app, like Aviary Phoenix or Photoshop Express are doing, has been the highest reach, as of late, and performance is only as good as the bandwidth you have.

Developing parametric history-based or history free models online may seem like a far reach, but when the knowledge of both collide I think we’ll see some interesting advances with PLM, product design and how things are manufactured. CAD Mash-ups? PLM Life streams? Whatcha think?

Google LatLong


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.