The world is a wonderful place, as anyone with the means to traverse the globe can attest. Many of us do not have the resources or luxury of being able to hop around the planet to see its many wonderful sights. Fortunately we live in an era of ubiquitous broadband connections, and if you want to tour this giant rock we reside on, Google Earth is a great place to start. It's even better now that Google added some nifty new features.
Google says the new version of Google Earth introduced today has been two years in the making. The goal was to offer users different and exciting ways to see the world, while throwing knowledge at them in the process.
"With the new Earth, we want to open up different lenses for you to see the world and learn a bit about how it all fits together; to open your mind with new stories while giving you a new perspective on the locations and experiences you cherish. It’s everything you love about Google Earth, plus new ways for you to explore, learn and share. Zoom in and see what adventures await you in the new Google Earth," Google states in a blog post.
Through select partnerships with "storytellers, scientists, and nonprofits," Google Earth now offers interactive tours through Voyager. For example, BBC has a Google Earth exhibit called National Treasures. It showcases half a dozen of the Earth's major habitats, highlighting unique wildlife on islands, mountains, jungles, deserts, grasslands, and cities. Each category has various hotspots to click on, which bring up videos, pictures, or both.
If you're unsure where to start your journey, Google has ported over its "I'm feeling lucky" feature from search. Clicking on transports users to random places around the planet, such as Pemba Island off the Swahili coast and the historic La Scala opera house in Milan, Italy.
As you travel around the globe, you'll see a new 3D button. This allows you to see places from any angle. A good example is the Grand Canyon. If you've always wanted to see the Grand Canyon but haven't had the opportunity, taking a virtual tour is the next best thing. You can click and drag your way around the natural wonder, zoom in, and even fire up a Street View of the Colorado River.
There is a lot to explore and you can check it out now on the web in Chrome. Google says it will add Android support later this week, followed by iOS and other browsers sometime in the near future. You can also still access and download Google Earth 7 for the desktop.