As anticipated, Google is today taking the wraps off the new Google Earth experience. The original service has come a long way and is now debuting some nifty new features additions that’ll make your experience more intuitive and interactive. This redesigned version of the service will enable you to explore locations worth storytelling, 3D maps of specific locations and the traditional homes of some cultures from across the globe.
The new Google Earth experience was unveiled at a flashy and huge launch event at the Whitney Museum of Modern Art in New York City. While we had been mulling whether Google will introduce Earth VR for its own Daydream platform, the tech giant has upgraded the existing Google Earth experience for the web and Android devices. This event was focused on highlighting the partnerships struck by the tech giant to provide you access to features for such detailed and captivating tours across the globe. It had been two years in the making.
Speaking about this update, Gopal Shah, Product Manager, Google Earth said,
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.
The highlight feature of the revamped Google Earth is Voyage, which provides you access to a series of interactive guided tours across different habitats. These stories bring the planet to life on your screen itself and have been crafted “with some of the world’s leading storytellers, scientists, and nonprofits.” The tech giant is kicking off the experience with over fifty voyages and promises to add even more each week.
With Voyage, you have the option to head to Gombe National Park in Tanzania or discover about six different habitats — from islands to mountains to jungles — developed by BBC Earth. There is also a kid-friendly visiting spot in Google Earth’s new experiences, where you can accompany Sesame Street’s Girl Muppet Lola to Mexico to learn more about modern Mayan cultures.
Additionally, Google is porting the infamous but less-known I’m feeling lucky feature to elevate the new Google Earth experience. As expected, on clicking this button, you are transferred to a random location in the 3D mapping service — be it lush green islands off the Swahili coast or hot springs in Japan.
This surprise location will be accompanied with a knowledge card providing info, as well as facts about the location, powered by their own search capabilities. You will be able to roll the dice and randomly travel to 20,000 different places around the vast expanse of this world. You can also discover related locations using the knowledge card attached to each location.
But, wait because we’re not just yet. The feature is further expanded upon by adding to the mix 3D capabilities, which have been added to the service in this updated version. It will enable you to see any location from any angle, i.e this feature will provide you a 3D bird’s eye view of the location you’ve landed at. This means you will be standing in the air, exploring the beauty around you but not alone as these moments can be shared with friends and family in the form of postcards. The blog post describes this as under:
When you find a view that leaves you breathless or inspires a fond memory, share a Postcard of your exact view with your friends and family. They can click the link to jump right to where you were (virtually) standing.
Now, Google Earth brings along another significant feature with this relaunch. While we might be acquainted with our traditions and culture, we’re mostly aloof about those of other residing in different parts of the world. Thus, the ‘Voyager’ storyteller mode has been extended to provide you a way into other homes — virtually.
The feature is itself called Home and invites you to step foot in the lives of other individuals to know a little bit about their traditions. This means you’ll be get acquainted with a Peruvian chuclla, a Bedouin tent or a Greenlandic IIoq from the inside. You’ll not only be able to see how the houses are constructed, where they are constructed and how people live there. But, Google Earth will also enable you to meet with those people and many more in the coming weeks.
The aforementioned features have been made available for your viewing pleasure via Google Chrome browser and the official Android app. Google is currently working to bring them to other platforms by sometime later this year.