New Google Earth is the ultimate virtual guide to our world

  • The new Voyager feature is all about discovery and showcases interactive stories. Image credit: Google Earth
  • An example of 3D navigation and knowledge cards. Image credit: Google Earth
Date:23 April 2017 Author: Jorika Moore Tags:, , ,

Explore your planet in a new way with the release of a re-imagined version of Google Earth for Chrome and Android – just in time for Earth day on 22 April.

Google aims to educate users about the world around them with this free Earth mapping service. It combines storytelling and AI and moves Earth on a web browser instead of standalone apps only. This means more computing power at data centres in the internet cloud of things.

Earth users can explore the planet with interactive stories, 3D navigation and knowledge cards to give users online information about the places they “visit”.

The Voyager feature feeds your wanderlust by taking users on curated journeys around the world through interactive guided tours told by experts, including BBC Earth, NASA, Sesame Street and the Jane Goodall Institute. Voyager currently has more than fifty stories and new stories will be added weekly.

Feeling Lucky is a feature that will randomly select one of many less well-known locations around the globe for users to explore. It works exactly like it’s namesake on the Google browser.

Although exploring the ends of the Earth is fun and educational, many NGOs use Google Earth as a resource or for analysis to do better work.

A drawback of the latest version on Chrome is missing the historical imagery and the time slider (available on Earth 7) and it doesn’t allow you to track change over time in a certain location. Another limitation is a legal one. Google is an American company and therefore have to abide by local laws pertaining to imagery which prohibits the selling of high resolution satellite imagery of some countries like Israel.

Google plans to maintain the classic Earth 7 app as they develop more functionality in the new Google Earth. Versions tailored for Apple devices and other internet browsing software are in the works. Click here to check out Google Earth on Chrome.

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