New satellite for improved Google Earth experience

DigitalGlobe, the company that provides the imagery for Google Earth, is launching a new satellite on Tuesday, September 18. The satellite named WorldView I will collect over 600,000 square kilometers of imagery each day and will boost the quality of images on Google Earth.

A quote from the article at PC World:

Together with the company's existing Quickbird satellite, it will offer half-meter resolution and will be able to collect over 600,000 square kilometers of imagery each day, up from the current collection of that amount each week, Chief Executive Jill Smith told Reuters in a telephone interview.

DigitalGlobe received funding from the Pentagon and has permission to sell the images commercially as long as they are limited to half-meter resolution.

Google's space programs

The news of the satellite launch comes in the wake of another announcement from Google that it will co-sponsor the $30 million prize (Tech Blorge) money in partnership with the X Foundation (TechNewsWorld) for the first private firm that lands a space craft on the moon and transmits high resolution images back to Earth.

Now, search is the core business of Google, and it's one of the main reasons why Google has had phenomenal success (Don Dodge's comments on Google, a one trick pony?). Are these diversifications an indication of Google charting a new territory?

Satellite video + Google's dark fiber and wireless investment + dedicated hardware (like a video gPhone) = the next big thing?

Google's recipe could cook up the world at your fingertips. Is this the metamorphosis of the search engine giant into a new domain?