Like Google Earth pictures? Now your company can buy them. (Snooping as a service?)

Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.

Above: Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.

Image Credit: Google Earth screen shot
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It’s one thing to cruise around the planet virtually with Google Earth when you’re bored. Now, Google is bringing out those high-resolution aerial images for business use.

Today, the imagery from Google Earth for the continental United States became available through Google Maps for Business. The move means such files no longer need to sit on companies’ and government agencies’ data center infrastructure — or generate the images themselves. It’s all available through Google’s vast cloud.

Customers can get it through geographical information system software, weave it in to web or mobile applications through a Google Maps application programming interface (API), or put it on top of Google Earth itself, according to a blog post today from Vinay Goel, product director on Google Maps for Business.

The images could make applications more visually compelling, and businesses could use them to show potential customers where to go in real life.

With this news, it’s once again clear Google wants to keep releasing hardware, software, and services for business use. Sometimes Google adjust products for consumers, like Google Docs, and makes them suitable for businesses. At other times Google externalizes tools of its own. That’s been the case with the nascent Google Compute Engine. In this case, the tech giant is doing the former.

Goel did not include detail on the cost of the imagery.

“The pricing for the imagery will vary per customer/organization (depending on their needs, etc.),” a Google spokeswoman wrote in an email to VentureBeat.

More information:

Google's innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major glob... read more »

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