Google Maps for Business customers can now purchase and use Google Earth imagery for the first time.
Vinay Goel, a product director for the Google Maps for Business team, boasted in a blog post on Wednesday that the fusion of Maps and Earth, supported by the Google Cloud Platform, means companies "can bypass traditional delivery systems, such as an FTP or disc, while also avoiding the costs of maintaining their own data centers."
Google Earth first launched in 2005, stemming from the acquisition of an Australian digital mapping startup also responsible for another familiar, albeit seasonal, Google product: the annual Santa Tracker.
Google Maps took a more corporate turn last fall with the introduction of Maps Engine Pro, an advanced version of the popular online directions tool designed to enable a "more powerful form of mapping," accessible to any business owner and employee for creating custom maps for internal and external use.
As of last October, there were approximately one million active websites and apps are using the Google Maps API.
In February, Google Maps branched out even further with the Google Maps Gallery, a digital atlas for maps provided by businesses, government agencies, and non-profit organizations worldwide. Maps included in the Gallery are accessible via Google Earth as well as discoverable through major search engines.
Initial content providers for the Google Maps Gallery included the National Geographic Society, the World Bank Group, and the United States Geological Survey.
Business customers can access the high-resolution aerial image library via the Google Maps Engine. At this time, the imagery only covers the continental United States.