Google Earth relaunches with guided voyages, 3D views
Google is rolling out an invigorated version of Google Earth, the app that lets you explore the globe from as up close or as far as you please. In addition to aerial and street views, Google Earth has new features like 3D views and interactive guided exploration tools.
3D views are perhaps the most striking new feature – they provide a desktop or mobile version of the Google Earth VR experience. In 3D mode, you can explore a location from any angle, and even send a virtual postcard of your exact view. Toggle back and forth between 3D and the familiar 2D view with the click of a button, though note that that not all locations have 3D views available quite yet.
More good news for VR fans: Google Earth VR, which launched for the HTC Vive via the Steam Store last November, is now available for the Oculus Rift headset through the Oculus Store. The VR app also has 27 new locations and a new search feature.
Other new educational and exploratory tools in Google Earth include the Voyager function, which offers a number of guided interactive tours. Take virtual treks to jungles, islands, the national parks of the US, or Jane Goodall's Tanzania. Along the way, you're guided by video and text commentary, produced with help from media giants like BBC Earth. More voyage options will be added on a weekly basis.
There's also a new "I'm feeling lucky" feature. With one click, you'll be whisked away to any of 20,000 different locations curated by Google. Wherever you end up, you can click the new Knowledge Card window to read quick facts about the locale.
The new version of Google Earth is available now in the Chrome browser, and rolls out to Android devices this week. According to Google, it will become available for iOS and other browsers in the near future.