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Google Maps joins the Mile High Club

Partnership with JetBlue brings Google Maps to 35,000 feet.

Google Maps is just so hot right now, we couldn't resist giving it yet another nod this morning. On Tuesday, the low-cost U.S. airline JetBlue Airways announced that real-time flight tracking on Google Maps will be available on its in-seat TVs soon.

Plenty of airlines offer screens with in-flight tracking, but it appears that this is the first time that one has used Google Maps to do so. If you're flying on a JetBlue plane, you'll be able to watch your flight via Google Maps (along with speed and altitude) on channel 13 of the carrier's satellite TV system. (Is this a taste of things to come? Will we be seeing a "Google channel" on TV?) In addition, Google Maps features on JetBlue's Web site will allow you to track flights from the ground.

In a statement from Google on Tuesday, Google Maps & Earth director John Hanke said, "We're excited to see Google Maps in use at 35,000 feet." OK, I'm calling it now: $5 says Google Maps will have charted the ocean floor and will be in use underwater by 2010.

Because nothing is complete these days without a mashup or two, JetBlue has introduced a photo contest as part of the deal. Snap a photo out the window, tell your in-flight Google Maps where you took it, and upon landing you can send the photo to JetBlue where it'll be incorporated into a big Google Maps mashup and site visitors can vote on their favorites. It'd be cooler if you could submit your photos in-flight, but last we checked, your average non-extravagant airplane still didn't have USB hubs built into every seat.

Keep an eye on this one: JetBlue has hinted that future partnerships with the Mountain View uberdotcom are on the way.

PS: Can't believe we managed to get through this whole blog post without a Snakes on a Plane pun.