Upgrading my video card drivers yesterday meant that Google Earth no longer crashes my system inside of 30 seconds (yay!). As a consequence, I've spent the last two days exploring the globe.
This morning while navigating back home, I discovered a 'Sponsored Link' under the search result cloud.
Now, I'd been flying around for a couple of days and not seen a sponsored link before, so (to me at least) this looks like a new addition.
If so, it makes a lot of sense. The free release of Sketchup will renew interest in Google Earth, and this provides an excellent new source of exposure for Adwords customers who already have location based exposure on Google Maps.
Like most Google advertising, the add itself is fairly innocuous and doesn't detract from my Google Earth experience -- it's certainly a far more contextual (and far less intrusive) than the old 'Opera' style software sponsorship.