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6/19/2006
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Google Earth Adds High-Resolution Images

Search company can now provide hi-res images of 20% of the planet's surface

In keeping with the company's global ambitions, Google Earth is getting bigger.

At Google's first Geo Developer Day last week, the company said it can now provide high-resolution satellite imagery of 20% of the Earth's surface, four times what it offered before.

Google Maps for Enterprise made its debut, too. The fee-based service for businesses aims to embed Google Maps in internal and external Web sites. Pricing starts at $10,000.

The devil is in the details, and it's not immediately clear whether the new hi-res imagery will draw the ire of the governments that share the planet with Google. Many have complained about Google's ability to show pictures of their secrets--even as they use Google to track lawbreakers.

Google addressed these concerns in a statement: "Google has engaged ... in substantive dialogue with the relevant agencies of the U.S. government and with recognized security experts. To date, none of these authorities has raised security concerns about Google Earth images."

If governments have a complaint, it's with the companies that supply the images, Google said. That should make them feel better.

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