Google Earth is a powerful piece of software that allows one to view any spot on Earth using satellite imagery, maps, terrain and even 3D buildings. It can be useful for viewing famous, far away landmarks, planning trips or stalking ex-girlfriends.
Google Earth is an extremely powerful tool of the modern age that is on the cutting edge of human technology. The intended applications for such a tool are numerous. An oceanographer can now study the ocean's depths from the comfort of his or her own home and avoid the risk of a deadly shark attack. Traffic analysts can import and update real time traffic conditions to news agencies or private citizens allowing them to always avoid the slow roads and speed cameras. Even teachers can finally show students what the streets of Paris actually look like, and where exactly this "Middle East" place is that we always hear so much about.
If you live in India, shouldn't it be called "The Middle West"?
Google even incorporated a rudimentary flight simulator into the tool which, along with their Web browser and operating system, proves without a doubt that the company has a real hard-on for competing with Microsoft. Able to track weather patterns, show every building of a major city and even look back in time, there is an infinite amount of legitimate ways that Google Earth will advance humanity's understanding of our world. That is, provided humanity can ignore the little devil on our shoulder long enough.
Fortunately for Internet comedy, many people quickly tire of the novelty of studying the layout of Shanghai, or finding their childhood home, and soon start to stray into more entertaining uses of Google Earth. And let's face it, while they may be great features, looking at miles of desolate ocean floor, and the even more barren lunar surface, isn't all that exciting.
As we all know, when people get bored and have a lot of time on their hands, great things can happen. Great things like the discovery of more than ten nude sunbathers all captured during a sunny day in Holland--which was instantly transformed into a Top 10 list on the Internet. Others find less perverted, but no more constructive uses for the tool by challenging themselves and their EarthFu, like the woman who found all 26 letters of the alphabet embedded in the Earth's terrain in a record-setting 15 hours. Still others, who are less mentally stable and not content with Jesus' face appearing in toast or paint, scour the globe in hopes of finding him staring back from a sand dune in Peru.
The more creative and nefarious segments of society have found Google Earth to be an invaluable tool in the commission of crimes, especially burglary. Gone are the days when a lowly villain had to case a potential target in person and risk being noticed. Now he can find the juiciest targets right from the comfort and anonymity of his secret underground lair, just like the thieves that use Google Earth to find secluded koi ponds and steal the valuable fish held within. Google's tool even has a role to play in the sudden and sharp rise of church roof thefts in the UK thanks to its ability to easily spot the valuable lead that lines them.
The real lesson that the advent of Google Earth has taught humanity is that if teachers would teach geography using voyeurism and pattern recognition instead of boring lines on a map, they might actually get somewhere for once.