Relationship to Web 2.0: Google Earth is an example of a Web 2.0 technology, Clay Shirky gives an entertaining talk about how web 2.0 is working including discussion of crime mapping in Brazil. Well worth watching in full.
Google Map Design: Googler Pam Fox gives details of a talk she gave about design in Google Maps. Producing content in Google maps is similar to Google Earth, its a lot more technical for the producer but it can be embedded in a web page which is a considerable advantage. She starts by saying:
"You can't just throw your data on a map and call it a day. Your users deserve more than that."Amen to that.
I also liked the 'Markers as Links', idea that she discusses but I didn't like the design on slide 9. Yes, its different from the default Google Maps design but it uses too much intense red, a better design would have used a more subtle color.
Map of USA News: Alisa Miller describes what is, at the current time, my favourite static map: The amount of US news about the world shown as a distortion of land mass.
If I could find a high definition version out there I'd stick it on my wall.