This is minor news in most contexts: Google Earth (the software power tool that feels like a toy) has been released for the Mac.
Aside from the obvious usefulness of this release, this signals a money-where-their-mouth-is confirmation thae Google isn't just reinforcing Microsoft's monopolistic dominance.
Google has offered a wealth of opportunities for open source, multi-platform development. But their unusual business model (offer almost everything for free) means that they've been targeting the largest mass of computer users — Microsoft-bound users, that is.
As (Open Source Journalist) Glyn Moody wrote recently:
Google's software is heavily weighted towards Microsoft Windows. Programs like Google Earth and Picasa are only available under Windows, and its latest, most ambitious foray, the Google Pack, is again only for Microsoft's operating system. This means that every time Google comes out with some really cool software, it is reinforcing Microsoft's hold on the desktop. Indeed, we are fast approaching the point where the absence of GNU/Linux versions of Google's programs are a major disincentive to adopt an open source desktop.
Glad to see that little bit of criticism go so out of date so quickly. Now, Google, a Linux release, please.
Key system requirements: OS X 10.4 (Tiger), a 400-MHz processor, and 16 MB of video RAM, minimum — essentially, even a G3 iBook from mid-2002 should be able to handle it — but they recommend more than 1.5 GHz, 32 megs of video and a fairly speedy broadband connection. I've been restraining myself from acquiring the leaked beta, but I'm going to download it now.