It’s been a while since Google Earth got a major feature update, but Alphabet Inc. has changed that today with a brand new, re-invented version. One of the biggest changes is the ability to use Earth in the browser, rather than having to download a separate app.
Of course, Google has limited this to its own one for now. Firefox users will have to start up Chrome to have a play, or just install it the old way. Whatever the case, it’s worth having a look at the new functionality.
Regular users of Google Maps will have seen 3D functionality before, with varying results. It gives a different perspective to regular satellite imagery and provides a lot more useful detail. That feature is now available at select locations on Earth and provides a somewhat better experience to Maps.
It’s not the most detailed rendering. Parts of buildings tend to take on weird polygonal shapes, and the textures aren’t amazing quality. However, given the number of buildings on screen, it’s pretty impressive. Google seems to have most of London on there, as well as other popular cities across the world.
Those looking for more detail yet can use Google Earth’s new Voyager feature. Interactive guided tours detail landmarks with 360 views and provide information about locations and the wildlife in them. The feature currently includes 50 different stories, with more coming each week.
There’s also more information about points of interest outside of that. Clicking on one of 20,000 points brings up knowledge cards, as well as related information. Of course, you can also click the dice button and end up somewhere random.
The additions show that Google hasn’t quite forgotten about the desktop version of Earth, and it will be interesting to see what else is added going forward. You can try it yourself by heading to earth.google.com.