By Chris Kawalek on Dec 01, 2006
Google Earth is fantastic. I was an early adopter so I got to show it to many people who had never seen it before. Surprisingly, one of the most common questions I received was, "is it live?" My guess is that Google Earth is so beyond what many people expect that it makes them remove the (maybe artificial) limitations they put on their imaginations and they then jump to the next logical conclusion.
We're a long way from Google Earth being live, especially considering the compelling high res imagery of populated areas is taken by airplanes and not satellites. But, you can now see a live view of our planet from the Landsat satellites with the EarthNow! Landsat Image Viewer. And even when they don't have the live view active they do replays of very recent passes of the satellites.
It's a very cool thing to look at our planet from space in real-time. The only thing that disappoints me a bit is that I think it's designed to only show passes over North America. But even though we can't yet see the entire planet, everybody with an Internet connection being able to see these images in real-time is an amazing feat.