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Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Google buys satellite image firm Keyhole

( Via News.com)Google announces the acquisition of satellite image firm Keyhole . Google, one of first of the truly Web companies, is increasingly a Windows-Web company.
- In July, Google acquired Picasa, a digital photo management company. The application only runs on Windows PCs.
- Google's Desktop Search application, launched earlier this month, is Windows-only.
- Today, the company announced it had acquired Keyhole , which does digital mapping in amazing ways. All these run on Windows platform.

Keyhole, founded in 2001, offers software that lets Internet users view geographic images collected from satellites and airplanes. The technology relies on a multiterabyte database of mapping information. The software gives users the ability to zoom in from space level; in some cases, it can zoom in all the way to a street-level view. The company does not have high-resolution imagery for the entire globe, but its Web site offers a list of cities that are available for more detailed viewing. The company has focused most on covering large metropolitan areas in the United States and is working to expand its coverage. The software lets viewers tilt and rotate an image. Users can also search for information such as the locations of hotels, parks, ATMs and subways.

Given Microsoft's monopoly status, it's almost impossible to compete with Microsoft without simultaneously boosting the monopoly. Lets hope that Google is not abandoning its Web roots. But its increasing Windows-centricity, at least on the desktop, sends an unfortunate message to Mac and Linux users -- and to those who believe in diversity and open standards. Also ironic is the fact that Google search servers are all Linux Based yet the end user products they seem to have in line are only WinTel. The fact that Google is making windows only products surprises many. One of the great things about the Google search engine is its simple interface and the fact that you can use it from any computer on any platform with a web browser.
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