According to Rafe Needleman of Webware, StreetView will be available inside of Google Earth “within a few weeks”. Rafe quotes an unnamed source with that info. He states that it’s not clear if this will be a public release or an internal testing release.
If done smoothly, this could be very slick. It’ll be interesting to see how Google implements it. I found one odd statement in his post, though. He states:
Google’s aerial images are seamlessly integrated into Google Earth already, in contrast to Microsoft’s Live Search Maps, which forces the user to turn on the “Bird’s-Eye” mode to see aircraft imagery.
What? Either he’s never used Virtual Earth (Live Maps, etc), he’s confused, or I’m mis-reading his statement. Still, it sounds way off-base. Bird’s Eye imagery is in addition to the “aircraft imagery” (which I assume means “satellite imagery”), and it’s a neat option to have. For just viewing normal, flat imagery, Google Earth works essentially the same as Virtual Earth.
Anyhow, this StreetView news is pretty cool. It’s been a long time coming, so I’m hoping it’s integrated in a creative and useful manner.