I just uninstalled Google Earth...
...You mentioned that there are other faster programs available. Would you point me to them? I specifically am looking for the ability to measure distances as well as look at satellite and hybrid images at the same time...what I mean by "distance" is being able to click your way along a route and add the mileage.
Absolutely! (And thanks, Steve, for being the driving force behind each and every "Ask David" post thus far.)
For those not interested in my preferences, check out this excellent comparison of services at TechCrunch.
My favorites for hybrid views (both street names and satellite imaging) are Google Maps and Windows Live Local (though I find Windows Live Local a bit slow and clumsy with an awkward interface, the "Bird's Eye View" imaging is really nice).
For getting the distance on a route, try Gmaps Pedometer. This is another Google Maps mashup that exemplifies the coolness of open APIs and Web2.0.
Got more questions? Send 'em! pointingandgiggling_AT_gmail_DOT_com.