Google Earth is generally known as that quaint little addition to Google Maps. That is set to change with this new version of Google Earth that brings with it more stories and information about the world around us.
Three new functions have been added to the mapping service. “Voyager”, an “I’m feeling lucky” button, and a 3D view selected places. Collectively, these are intended to allow people to explore the globe from the comfort of their own homes; which is pretty much what Google Earth has always tried to do.
Voyager will provide people with information and stories about places around the world. Google worked with non-profit organisations and researchers to create a series of interactive guided tours. These cover things like six different habitats presented by BBC Earth and a Sesame Street Muppet doing a presentation of the modern Mayan people in Mexico.
People who want less structure to their virtual exploration can instead hit the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button. It’s the same thing as the one on Google’s search engine, and will just transport the user to a random location on the planet.
Finally, Google Earth is expanding the 3D aerial view of locations. There’s already something like that on the older version of the maps, although those were largely limited to topographical information. Now, virtual visitors will be able to look at buildings and more from a variety of angles.
The new Google Earth is available on the web and as an Android app.