It’s a little frustrating that Google has a couple of products competing against each other!
I revisited Google Earth after extolling Google Maps, and find several superior features in Google Earth:
a) smooth zoom without needing to redraw;
b) onscreen latitude/longitude. As a bonus, look at this site that integrates Wikipedia and Google Earth. Wow!
c) ease of adding markers
d) an ‘autotravel’ from one link to another.
The last is a particularly powerful visualisation aid. My kids love zooming from our house to their cousins’ house in another country – with one double-click.
I long for these products to be integrated – in a browser interface. A universal application – a browser - is where it all belongs. We no longer need to be forced to seek out a new application every time something new comes on stream.
As an aside, I understand the programming approach Ajax is an enabler for much of this, allowing smooth transitions within web pages without the need to redraw. For an illustration of the difference, in Google Maps try zooming and then try panning. Zooming, involving as it does a number of redraws, is a lot clunkier than panning.
Of course, I’d like to see realtime satellite data, and higher resolution. But aside from being too intrusive, that’s too much to ask for. Right now.