Available to U.S. only, Google is making its map imagery available to buy.
Today, we’re launching Google Maps for Business imagery, offering businesses the chance to purchase and use Google Earth imagery for the first time. This gives them access to high-resolution aerial imagery covering the continental U.S.Google Now Selling Its Maps For Business Imagery [googleenterprise.blogspot.com]
The remaining part of that paragraph is especially interesting as Google states:
And it will help customers like government agencies get the imagery they need without collecting their own aerial photography.
No doubt Google is positioning themselves to be more useful to government agencies, which will give them greater leverage moving forward. The extra revenue from businesses will also help pad the bottom line.