Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Introducing the New Google Earth

Today Google unveiled the new Google Earth. The most obvious difference to the latest incarnation of Google's 3D map is that Google Earth is no longer a stand alone application but is instead now entirely browser based.

The new Google Earth allows you to explore the world in glorious 3D. To this end the main on-screen tools are all designed to help you explore the world more easily. These tools include a 'Voyager' button which provides a number of great tours of the world (provided by the BBC Earth TV program) tours of some of the world's national parks and a Street View tour of the Galápagos Islands. My guess is that Google will be working with other content providers to help develop and add more of these curated 'Voyager' tours to Google Earth.

The on-screen tools also include a search option, which allows you to quickly find your favorite locations around the world. If you run out of places to search you can also use The 'I'm Feeling Lucky' button, which will take you to a random location. One of the great features of the new Google Earth is the 'Knowledge Cards', small information windows which appear on screen to provide you with information about locations and to provide links to other nearby points of interest.

As well as the on-screen buttons you can access more functionality from the burger menu. This includes 'Map Style' which allows you to adjust map features, such as the visibility of place labels. 'Settings' can also be accessed from the burger menu, where you can adjust things such as the 'fly-to' speed and the unit of measurements used by Google Earth.

I've only had a brief look at the new Google Earth and so far I'm very impressed. One of the reasons I hardly use Google Maps any more is that it is soooooo slow and is too keen to show me the world I already know (giving preference to places my friends and I have already been and know exist). Google Earth doesn't seem to suffer from the new Google Maps speed problems. It also seems designed to help you explore and find the wonders of planet Earth.

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