There’s a new Google Earth in town and it’s quite an upgrade over its predecessor. Even if you haven’t spent much time with it, you’ve probably at least heard of it.
Google Earth is a geobrowser, a virtual globe if you will, a way to explore our planet through the window of your computer. It’s the modern, high-tech version of the old-style globes that sit in classrooms or hang around as decor in your living room.
Google Earth combines satellite imagery with maps and 3D representations of buildings and landscapes to take you from a wide view of the whole planet on down to detailed views of mountains, valleys and cities.
The biggest change to the new generation of Google Earth is that it will now run in your Chrome browser and doesn’t require downloading a separate software program. This is a huge step up in convenience, but you might be tempted to let your productivity languish as you spend time exploring its beautiful vision of our planet.
“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,” Google said in its announcement of the revamped virtual globe.
Put some direction into your Google Earth wanderings with the new Voyager feature. Voyager offers a set of virtual journeys grouped by themes like “World’s Most Dramatic Mountains,” “Unusual Lakes,” and “Explore Paris.” These curated collections include commentary from local experts and help to put a vast amount of information available on Google Earth in context.
Some of the voyages also include videos. “Beautiful Birds-of-Paradise,” for example, features a video introduction from famed naturalist and television presenter Sir David Attenborough along with a series of videos showing the exotic birds’ fascinating behavior. You can access Voyager by clicking on the icon shaped like a ship’s wheel found along the left side of the Google Earth window.