The headlines scream every day: although Google will deny it, they are clearly taking aim at Microsoft's desktop dominance by releasing free versions of traditionally paid software. Word? Hell, check out Google Docs. Excel? Um, there's this Google Spreadsheet. But now, Google has really upped the ante on Microsoft's monopolistic hold on a segment of desktop software: Google Earth now has a Flight Simulator mode.
Yep, it's true. Just download the latest version of Google Earth, fire it up, and hit Ctrl+Alt+A. Voila, you're ready to fly. No, this not just a flythrough: takeoffs, landings, but with Googlicious real maps and terrain. Want to take a spin with a prop pusher? Gotcha. Looking for a racier challenge? How about an F-16 Viper? And yes, it's FREE. Oh, Mac users? Yeah, you get in on Air Google, too. Someone's just gotta add in a real-time audio layer for United's Channel 9, mapped to the location you are flying, and we've got a whole new entry into killer app land.
No word yet on the keyboard shortcuts that open the bomb bay doors and drop ordinance, but I'm guessing you might find them if your flightpath takes you over Redmond, WA. ;-)