Google earth + sketch-up (2)

Tim O'Reilly posted his thoughts about the added value for Google of having bought Sketch-Up (the 3D modeling tool):

Google Maps has more public reach, but it seems to me that Google Earth will ultimately emerge as the real platform play. What's particularly interesting is how much activity there is in adding user-generated data. Especially interesting is the way that Google is trying to get users to build 3D models of buildings with sketchup. (...) It becomes clear that Google Earth is not just a data visualization platform. It's a framework on which hundreds of different data layers can be anchored. It's also clear that Google Earth is entering into the same territory as Second Life. It's so easy to imagine all of the alpha geek behavior on Second Life hitting the mainstream via people building real-world equivalents on Google Earth. And it's easy to imagine interoperability, with virtual worlds adopting KML, so that first and second life become interoperable and connected. (I was going to ask about the Google Earth/Second Life connection with sketchup as the connector, since it seems so obvious to me, but the first question from the audience beat me to it. It's impossible to miss this idea.)

Why do I blog this? because I am interested in foresight about digital entertainment and video-games usage. What O'Reilly describes here is the very cutting-edge trend that we discussed when I was at the Annenberg Center for Communication in April: the potentialities of using Google Earth and sketch-up for playful activities, which is obviously connected to some social MMORPG like SL. What would be the next practice (beyond modeling your/a house and putting it there'): creating alternative versions of the Earth? Modeling MMORPG environment in KML and then playing in them (sort of DIY MMORPG level modeling)? Using this a the new interface for a SIM-like game? Trading KML files on ebay?