As Recession Looms, Google Looks to Uncle Sam

Web giant peddling Earth program in Washington
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 13, 2008 12:27 PM CDT
Two non-profit executives use Google Earth to coordinate their work in this file photo. Google Earth is the key technology Google is selling to the government.   (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
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(Newser) – With an economic meltdown threatening its advertising business, Google is turning to Washington for a second revenue stream, MarketWatch reports. Google’s government contract business is still extremely small, but could become more important soon as the company tries to diversify, according to the division’s chief technologist. “The government is excited about innovation, and excited about Google for sure,” he said.

Google is hawking souped-up versions of its Google Earth application that update more quickly and blend classified images with the usual commercially-available ones. It’s a natural fit because Earth was acquired from Keyhole, which was funded by a CIA venture capital firm. “We’re not only interested, we’re the government agency that developed Google’s technology,” said a National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency spokesman.