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Google makes Earth Engine available to all businesses and governments

For the past decade, researchers in academia and the nonprofit world have had access to increasingly sophisticated information about the Earth's surface. Now, any commercial or government entity will have access to Earth Engine
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Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer on
Google office building in the Company's campus in Silicon Valley
Image; SUNDRY PHOTOGRAPHY / Getty Images

For the past decade, researchers in academia and the nonprofit world have had access to increasingly sophisticated information about the Earth's surface, via the Google Earth Engine. Now, any commercial or government entity will have access to Google Cloud's new enterprise-grade, commercial version of the computer program. 

Google originally launched Earth Engine for scientists and NGOs in 2010. One of the world's largest publicly available Earth observation catalogs, it combines data from satellites and other sources continuously streaming into Earth Engine. The data is combined with massive geospatial cloud-computing resources, which lets organizations use the raw data for timely, accurate, high-resolution insights about the state of the world. That means they can keep a near-constant eye on the world's forests, water sources, ecosystems and agriculture -- and how they're all changing. 

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Google Cloud says it's commercializing Earth Engine now to cater to business customers that are prioritizing sustainability. Businesses are under pressure -- from regulators, investors and customers -- to reduce their carbon emissions. So, Google is rolling out new products that promise to help them meet their sustainability goals with more and better data. 

"Over the years, business and governments have been increasingly approaching us to accelerate their sustainability transformations," Rebecca Moore, director of Google Earth, told reporters on Monday. "We're helping companies with the responsible management of natural resources while also building sustainable business practices." 

Last year, Google began offering a commercial version of Earth Engine to a limited set of companies. SC Johnson, for instance, has used the platform to learn more about fluctuations in mosquito populations to guide the development of its pest control products. Using billions of individual weather data points, combined with data about mosquito populations over the past six decades, the company developed a publicly available predictive model of when and where mosquito populations will emerge. 

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Google says Earth Engine will still be available at no cost for nonprofits, academic research and educational use cases. 

Google Cloud is also unveiling a series of other tools for companies that are working on improving their carbon footprint. It's starting a new pilot program to help organizations gather the insights they need to use 24/7 carbon-free energy, and it's expanding its Carbon Sense suite of products.

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