Most exciting to me as a parent is Google Liquid Galaxy, which is essentially Google Earth put into a 360-degree Flight Simulator game. I admit they nearly had to drag me out of there so some of the other guests (or um, a whole line of 85 people) could have a turn.
Play with the joystick and in seconds the 8 LCD panels around me zoomed
from my block in Brooklyn to a friend’s street in Sarajevo, then to a
deserted Lost-like volcanic island in the South Pacific. The
colors are so realistic and the 3 dimensions so vivid, I can just
imagine how incredible this could be for teaching kids about geography
and the world in general. Especially when there’s more mapping down to the street level.
It’s like, you can say “this European capital is nestled in a valley,” or you can show
a kid what it looks like to live surrounded on one
side by a snow-capped mountain. Suddenly the concept clicks.
I asked one of the Google guys, “So, what’s the application for this right now? Military? Government?”
“Nah,” he said. “It’s just in our offices so we can play with it.” –Liz