Latest release of Google Earth Pro opens up GIS features

The latest release of Google Earth Pro version (additional $400 per year, subscription only) now includes the GIS import module, the movie making module, and the premium printing module, each of which were paid extras before this week.

These modules increase the amount of data manipulation that can be done directly inside of Google Earth, although they don't change the data visible in the application. Although the GIS Import module is interesting, it appears that its free inclusion is just and admission that the features in it have been available in free add-on and web based software for months now. It's a convenience to be able to create KML directly from .SHP files inside of Google Earth, but hard to justify hundreds of dollars for a conversion that can be done easily online or though free translation software (in particular, programs like gpsbabel).

However, with this increase in default functionality, people using the Google Earth for more professional purposes (fly through animation, television, what have you), may see the $400/year price as much more reasonable.