TechCrunch has a speculative post today suggesting that the new developments in Google Maps such as terrain and collaborative community mapping spells the end of Google Earth “in the next year or two.”
It is interesting to see the opposition to this speculation in the comments. As one person said “I’m already panicking,” showing just how far Google Earth has penetrated into our everyday lives in two and a half years.
The terrain feature as well as the wiki-style Our Maps (both released a couple of days ago) do indeed replicate to some extent the Google Earth experience but I find it hard to see that this spells the end of GE. First of all there is no tilt capability in GM allowing users to zoom “into” the scene. Plus, tons of 3D sketch-ups have been created–indeed GM has no comparable 3D feel to it at all. The latter also occupies a sub-window in your browser and therefore is not “immersive” like GE. And don’t forget that GE is well integrated into GIS, whereas G is more a web-based environment (embedding links in web pages for example–great but not the same).