Not content with just conquering your browser, your computer, not even the world, Google is now boldly going where no search engine has gone before, outer space, to collect even better data for its Google Maps offering. OK, it isn't Google per se that is leaving the Earth's atmosphere and it isn't the first foray of this kind for the search giant but it's still an important event. One of its partners providing the company with satellite imaging, DigitalGlobe, has just recently launched its latest satellite WorldView-2, which should provide Google with better quality images once it is fully operational.
“To keep bringing you new, high-quality imagery in Google Earth & Google Maps, we work directly with several commercial satellite imaging providers. Last week, our partner DigitalGlobe successfully launched their next generation satellite, WorldView-2, aboard Boeing Delta II 7920 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The successful launch of WV2 is another important step forward in making more high resolution, accurate, current imagery available,” Dylan Lorimer, Geo Content Partnerships, wrote on Google's Lat Long Blog.
While not exactly as exciting as they were 50 years ago, satellites still occupy a special place in most people's imagination. This particular one, though, is less the laser-wielding kind of Cold War James Bond movies and more the commercial satellite workhorse that we're becoming increasingly dependent on. WordView-2 will double DigitalGlobe's image collection capacity and should allow the company to provide a complete image of the entire Earth once a year.
For Google it means that it's getting mapping data closer from the source allowing it to provide better and more accurate data for its Google Earth and Google Maps products. The announcement though provides an image of Google's current partnerships with satellite image providers which, unsurprisingly, there aren't that many of. Last year Google signed an exclusive deal with GeoEye, a company that at the time launched the highest resolution commercial imaging satellite, but it looks like the search giant is playing on all ends partnering with DigitalGlobe as well to get the best images in all cases.