Google Maps is just , 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.