Just in time for Earth Day (April 22), Google released a promo video for the new Google Earth. It’s amazing! If you haven’t seen it yet, click here.
The video is only the tip of the iceberg. While it does show some of the world’s most scenic views, it doesn’t explain the new features that are part of the relaunch.
Even the Google Earth home page is magnificent; its background consists of aerial shots of different places. Click the “Launch” button, and, after the browser loads, the first thing you’ll see is the rotating earth. Use the menu on the left to navigate the features.
Just like before, you can type in cities and landmarks and the page will zoom into that location. What’s different now is the addition of “Knowledge Cards” that provide details about that place. If you’re viewing a city, the card will have a “Points of Interest” link to explore tourist sites. If you’re viewing a landmark, the card will have a “People also explore” link so you can view nearby landmarks. In the bottom left corner of the card, there’s a button for saving the cities and landmarks you’ve virtually explored.
This is a completely new feature. It includes input from BBC Earth, NASA and national parks. These preset guides allow you to explore travel spots, nature, history and culture. When you pick a topic to explore, a globe with clickable markers pops up. Each marker gives facts, and some play a video about that place. A fun guide for children is “Sesame Street’s Girls Around the World.” This feature also includes suggestions for Google Street View that give you a walking tour perspective.
I’m Feeling Lucky
Can’t decide what to explore next? Select this button from the menu, and you’ll be transported someplace random. Once you’re there, the Knowledge Cards pop up to tell you about that place. You might just discover a hidden gem that could become your new favorite vacation spot. If you like where you’ve “landed,” don’t forget to hit the save icon, which looks like a bookmark.
This section holds all the locations you’ve saved. Once a location is saved, you can fly to it or pull up its Knowledge Card without using the Search feature. If you wanted to make a presentation about your saved places, you could download the files from Google and add overlays to the maps. Scientists and other organizations can use this feature to create data reports. You could also use it to help plan your trips.
Every Google Earth view has its own unique URL, so when you zoom in or out or drag the screen in any direction, you’ll see the changes in your browser’s address bar. The cool thing about it is that if you find a breathtaking view, you can share that exact perspective with someone. Click the “Share” button for a link you can text, email or post to your social media platforms. Google calls this sharing a “Postcard.”