I skipped the entire iPod from outer space thing last month because it was clearly a hoax. But Desperate Housewives actress Eva Longoria being viewable in Google Earth is not. Well, sort of.
Suburbia pointed out that men's magazine Maxim is touting a giant cover of their 100th issue that's was constructed in the desert outside of Las Vegas. No, it wasn't shot from space. It was constructed on the ground, photographed and made viewable in Google Earth through an overlay file. Jossip has a nice rundown, along with some facts from the Maxim press release.
Sure, anyone can make an overlay file for insertion into Google Earth. But not anyone can get Google Earth to promote it. Clearly there's a deal in play here. The Maxim page about the Eva photo has a promo box pointing people over to Google Earth to do downloads of the software. And did you do the download? If so, you'll get this thank you page telling you to check out the Maxim cover as a featured item in Google Earth.
If you don't want to download Google Earth, you can get a sense of the cover here. But with Google Earth, you can zoom in much more.
This is the second big Google Earth partnership I've noted. When I was in Vermont earlier this year, I was watching the Winter Olympics on Canadian television that came over the border. A Re/Max ad kept coming on telling me to check out real estate locations with Google Earth.
I'm sure there are more promotions like this happening, but fair to say the Maxim/Eva deal is the most, ahem, visible. But in other news out today, Discovery is going to start offering video clips within the software.
What about Google Earth in cars? Oh, OK. Apparently Honda has put Google Earth satellite views into some high-end cars in Japan. The Unofficial Google Blog pointed at DailyTech, which highlighted an Edmunds article with more details on that.
We'd already been told that during Google's talk at CES earlier this year that it was working with VW on putting Google Earth in cars, as DailyTech covers here. Me, I was hohum about that news. I'm once bitten, twice shy about Google in cars.
Back in 2001, Google trotted out the voice search work it was doing with BMW as one of the "oh ah" things it would show journalists, as you can see in this Salon article. Never happened. Voice search was still going in 2002, but no one was talking any more about a BMW partnership. Today, Google Voice Search remains dead.
Maybe Google Earth in cars will have more legs. To me, the real thing isn't dumping in maps. GPS systems already do that and with more experience than Google has. The thing to watch is dumping in the data, along with the ads. If Google Earth really does get into cars, then it will have yet another area to start delivering up local advertising on the fly. That will be a significant move.