James notes in his Blog the continued interest in the soon to be released ArcGIS explorer… seldom in the GIS world has a software package generated this much interest before launch. Part of this interest is no doubt fuelled by the relatively private beta program until now.. I guess in contrast to the initially similar Google Earth.
For ESRI this is a different type of software product, Google have always been a “server” company, with massive amounts of server and bandwidth at their disposal and an operation well used to developing server based applications.
Although ArcGIS explorer looks and installs like a conventional desktop application, it is really a client for the large ArcGIS 9.2 server farm than ESRI have been building, and it is the development of this that controls the release cycle for the client.
Like an Iceberg, ArcGIS Explorer is the visible 5% of an application stack that remains below the surface, in the new Geography 2.0 world of GIS applications your GIS is only as good at the server which hosts it and the data which drives it.