Google Earth is the single most important property for Google’s position as market and thought leader of search and discovery. That’s always been the case since they purchased Keyhole Tech in 2005.
Apple knows this as well and that’s why they are going on their own in iOS 6 with a mapping technology that’s in house.
Mapping (discovery) is the new search:
How Google and Apple’s digital mapping is mapping us | Technology | The Guardian: “There is a sense, in fact, in which mapping is the essence of what Google does. The company likes to talk about services such as Maps and Earth as if they were providing them for fun – a neat, free extra as a reward for using their primary offering, the search box. But a search engine, in some sense, is an attempt to map the world of information – and when you can combine that conceptual world with the geographical one, the commercial opportunities suddenly explode. Search results for restaurants or doctors or taxi firms mean far more, and present far juicier opportunities for advertisers, when they are geographically relevant. And then there’s the most important point – the really exciting or troubling one, depending on your perspective. In a world of GPS-enabled smartphones, you’re not just consulting Google or Apple data stores when you consult a map: you’re adding to them.”
Mapping/Discovery will be the verb akin to “searching” of the next five years.
We’ll have “Discovery Optimizers” just as we have search engine optimization and “But are we appearing at the top of people’s discoveries?” questions as we have “Are we on the front page of Google?” now.
Discovery motors will quietly, but quickly, replace search engines.
It’s about time (and place).