Google finally posted Google Earth 5.0 for public download. The changes are really cool, and so far, the performance is noticeably better (faster). It also does the initial home zoom-in more smoothly and with better rendering detail. Very nice indeed. But the first thing I checked was the street in my neighborhood, which was renamed in 1992, but had yet to be shown correctly on any maps. To be fair, Google relies on other sources for their digital imagery map references. I contacted the Google Maps team back in 2007 about this, and they kindly referred me to the two sources as well as providing URLs for their submission forms. I dutifully submitted the correction requests to each service and received confirmations within a week saying that it may take some time to be processed. I checked last in December 2008, and it wasn't updated then. So now it is February 2009 and it's finally been completed! Wow. That DID take a little while.
I'm wondering what is prompting Google to suddenly start to execute projects a bit more promptly than they had been. The economy? Competition? Probably both. I'm sure the specter of layoffs has kicked a lot of their employees into high gear to outdo each other and prove their value internally. That's not a bad thing, for us anyway.