Google and Esri – who’d have thought!

It’s well worth reading the questions to gain a better understanding of what’s happening. That very first question and answer hints at the enormity of the revolution that’s underway:

Q – What is the Esri/Google relationship?
A – Google and Esri are working closely together to provide replacement software and training to all of Google’s enterprise customers and partners that have implemented Google Earth Enterprise and Google Maps Engine technology. Esri will be providing the new 10.3 version of ArcGIS for Server and related client/app technology to all Google Earth Enterprise and Google Maps Engine customers and partners.

This seems to suggest a level of relationship that isn’t yet reflected in the Google Earth blogs but doesn’t indicate the ‘why’. We can only surmise that Google finally realised that while local search is capable of monetising the investments in Google Maps, that was never going to translate into meaningful revenue streams for Google Earth Enterprise or Google Maps Engine. Meanwhile, Esri knows how to do that. Any change of this enormity will create disruptive ripples. How will this change Esri’s relationship with Microsoft (which always promised so much and yet failed to become transformational)? How will this shift the balance of power in the Open Geospatial Consortium? How will this impact AGI’s Open Source Cesium platform?

What is surprising is that Esri’s giving away a lot of freebies with this: attendance at Esri UC; free Esri software and a year of maintenance; free training. That represents a huge outlay in cash; suggesting that there might be more to this new Google / Esri relationship than meets the eye.

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