Geography Bee – The National Geographic Society hosted it’s 2008/2009 National Geography Bee in Washington DC yesterday. Moderated by Alex Trebek, the winner was 7th-grader Eric Yang from Texas who won $25,000, a lifetime membership to National Geographic Society, and a trip to the Galapagos Islands. Very appropriately, Google Earth was the sponsor of this year’s event. Brian McClendon, Director of Engineering for Google Earth and Maps, was on hand to speak at the event and he posted the announcement at the Official Google Blog. You can watch the winning moment here.
Developer Marketplace – Google Earth Outreach has added a place where developers who are interested in offering their services to non-profits can list themselves at the site.
Monetize your Maps – Google has finally added a better way to monetize your Google Maps API applications. You can now have an ad unit which appears on the map. The ads turn out to be quite relevant to your location. They not only pick an ad based on your current view (zoom level and coordinates), but also figure out what people are typically searching for in that location to determine the ads that appear. The important part is that you can tag the ad to your Adsense account and derive revenue from clicks to those ads. I’m hopeful they’ll do something similar for the Earth API plugin and provide mechanisms to turn on/off the ad on a programmatic basis so you can avoid the ads if something important is going on in the scene.