What the hell, lets continue posting about Manifold. I know both the NASA World Wind team and others have been wondering how they heck Manifold can be allowed to use the Google when they aren’t. Well that has changed (via Bull’s rambles):

Just prior to the release of 7x, Google lawyers contacted manifold.net to complain that Google requires access to Google web offerings to be licensed in accordance with Google’s API. Because manifold.net does not create ISI drivers for Google we cannot say that such ISI drivers are or are not licensed under Google’s API, and we will not cooperate in any efforts to limit the rights of third party developers who are writing ISI drivers.

Although all ISI drivers for Google are created by third parties unrelated to manifold.net, we are concerned that our unwillingness to help Google stomp on such developers will expose 7x as a target. Therefore, to avoid legal complications that could delay the release of 7x, manifold.net has removed discussion of third party ISI drivers for Google from the Help documentation committed to the 7x DVD. It could be that if Google’s lawyers come to their senses this topic will be restored in future updates available by download as part of the automatic update notification system in 7x.

OK, so there you have it. But in true Manifold tradition, they can’t but not push their holier than thou attitude.

Even though this is not our fight, we therefore cannot in good faith any longer recommend use of ISI drivers for Google, even if such ISI drivers are duly licensed and approved by Google. If Google insists on total control, we cannot recommend them. Instead, we will encourage developers and users to move to the more open world of Microsoft’s Virtual Earth.

Of course, a cynic might say it is easy for Manifold to delete discussion of Google image servers since in any event the Microsoft Virtual Earth image servers work so much better that nobody uses ISI drivers for Google anyway. That may be true, but nonetheless we feel that ethics and fair competition continue to be important and that moral support for third party developers is our duty.

Ah, feels so good to be better than everyone else. Of course they do point out what everyone else has noted, Virtual Earth is available and Microsoft seems to be more open than Google to sharing their data (of course we have no idea if there are contractual reasons Google can’t allow this). Those at the ESRI .NET SIG also saw ESRI combining ArcGIS Server and Virtual Earth in their new .NET API (which is to be included as a demo so everyone can see how to use Virtual Earth with ESRI server products).

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