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Google Earth Gets KML Search

A KML file can, for example, add data points to a Google Earth map of New Zealand that show where various scenes from the three 'Lord of the Rings' films were shot.

Google Earth has moved into a tighter orbit around Google search. Google Earth users can now search for specific geographic data layers, otherwise known as Keyhole Markup Language (KML) files, to create map overlays.

In a post on the Google Maps API Blog, Google Earth product manager Chikai Ohazama offers an example: Navigate to New Zealand in Google Earth and enter "Lord of the Rings" in the Google Earth search box. The result is a KML file that, when selected, adds data points to the map of New Zealand that show where various scenes from the three Lord of the Rings films were shot.

Google search users have been able to search for KML files and can launch the Google Earth application from search results links. Even so, it's clear Google wants to see search more deeply integrated in Google Earth and Google Maps. Last month, Google encouraged users of its Google Maps API to include KML files in their sitemaps (XML files that describe the structure of Web sites for search engines).

Ohazama says Google Maps will soon be able to search for KML files and display them with a click -- think of this as an on-demand map mashup. Google Maps and Google Maps for mobile currently support a subset of KML 2.1, the current version of the geographic file format.

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