Google Earth redesign sees new tours of the world’s sites included

18 Apr 2017

Image: triff/Shutterstock

Google Earth has seen its first redesign in some time, with tours of landmarks and greater 3D views of cities the latest inclusions.

A good way to waste away an afternoon, Google Earth has been continually evolving over the past decade. Its latest overhaul is seen as a landmark event by Google.

Capitalising on greater satellite imagery, and an ever-growing network of manually mapped streets throughout the world, Google’s sightseeing tool has been given a makeover, just in time for Earth Day.

With most interactivity maintained, users can still scour the globe to view places they have been, are on the way to, or will never afford to visit.

But now, the inclusion of Google’s growing armoury of video tours, as well as improved 3D maps of cities, have been bandied together.

“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,” said Gopal Shah, product manager at Google Earth, “ 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.”

The interactive guided tours are pretty cool, with teams of scientists and storytellers on hand to transport users to some of the best-hidden corners of the globe.

For example, Natural Treasures from BBC Earth brings users to six habitats – from islands to mountains to jungles – to learn about the wildlife in each.

“Then head to Gombe National Park in Tanzania and hear from Jane Goodall about her team’s chimpanzee research and conservation efforts,” said Shah.

“And make a stop in Mexico with Lola, one of 12 little monsters featured in Sesame Street’Girl Muppets Around the World, and learn about modern Mayan cultures.”

There are more than 50 tours included in this aspect of Google Earth, suitably named Voyager. Additionally, there’s a standard Google randomiser called ‘I’m feeling lucky’, which works as it does on Google search.

Google has added information cards, a staple of Android, to provide more information about various locations, too.

These new features are available now for Google Chrome browser and Android users, with other platforms to receive the update later this year.

It’s worth a spin.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic