We've been pretty excited about this for a while, but the post 'a Social Network for Google Earth?' on the Google Operating System blog really put some more meat on the bone
Basically the strong rumour is that Google is about to launch a Second Life-type metaverse or virtual world where users create their avatars and are then able to build, trade, engage in a virtual Google Earth.
As Anthony Mayfield hints at in his blog Open, this sounds to me like a brand manager's wet dream: the targeting ability of Google AdWords overlaid onto Second Life with the photo-realstic qualities of Google Earth.... So if someone pops into a virtual t-shirt store, you can target them ( in their language, in their time ) with a talking avatar for the same in the real world.
This is the Intro page shown to Arizona State Uni students who are apparently trailing this new world. All that remains now is for someone to launch the world's first virtual recruitment event ;-)