So it has finally happened.

Today, I’m happy to announce the release of the new Google Earth Browser Plug-in, which brings the full power of Google Earth to the web, embeddable within your own web site. Driven by an extensive JavaScript API, you can control the camera; create lines, markers, and polygons; import 3D models from the web and overlay them anywhere on the planet. In fact, you can even overlay your content over different planets, stars, and galaxies by toggling Sky mode, letting you build 3D Google Sky mashups. You can also enable 3D buildings with a single line of JavaScript, attach JavaScript callbacks to mouse events, fetch KML data from the web, and more. Our goal is to open up the entire core of Google Earth to developers in the hopes that you’ll build the next great geo-based 3D application, and change (yet again) how we view the world.

So has this made you sit up and get excited (and rush off to download the plugin) or are you giving it a big “meh”?

I’ve been of the feeling that 3D is too complex for simple mapping applications and frustrates the community at large. That said I felt the same way about Google Earth when people started getting all excited about it. Virtual Earth 3D seems to be popular with folks so I see no reason why there won’t be a huge jump into embedding Google Earth in the browser.