Google Earth Update Leaves Us Wow’ed

Maybe I’ve just been living under a rock, but I definitely didn’t know that Google Earth existed. Not only does it exist, but now that Google just released an update it’s pretty spectacular.

Have you ever wanted to explore the world without spending the money? Now, I’m not saying that Google Earth is an equal substitute for traveling the world but it’s pretty darn close to something like that. Not only can you explore the world and see the beauty but you can also learn about places along the way. It’s totally interactive!

The Interface

I’ll walk you through the interface so I can touch on some majorly cool points. When you arrive at the landing page you might want to hit the play button to get an idea of what you can do with this new app (yes, they transformed it into a web app instead of keeping it a desktop download for easier use, but you can still download older editions and desktop version).  If you just want to dive right in, like I did, you can press the button to launch Google Earth.

It’s a pretty simple design that makes a huge impact. I mean, look at that rotating Earth right in front of your face! So, on the left you have a hamburger menu with icons below it and in your bottom right hand corner you have your globe, a compass, a 3D button that allows you to toggle between 3D and 2D view, the person icon that allows you to see street view, and a scope icon that allows you to jump to your location.

Navigation Details

The left hand navigation is where the fun continues. The hamburger menu is pretty self explanatory. The search icon below the hamburger menu lets you search for any place in the world (obviously!).

The “I’m Feeling Lucky” die icon shakes when you hover over it and takes you to a random place every time it’s clicked, which is super fun. Once you’ve landed on a location, Google Earth shows you a card with a photo in the top right side of the screen that gives you additional information about the place it sent you. It’s very easy to find places you’ve never heard about.

You have a bookmark icon that allows you to save places whenever you find something unique or worth traveling to. When you find a place you want to save, just click on the matching bookmark icon in the place card. Finally, there’s a share link so you can share your places with family or friends.

Become a World Voyager

I saved talking about Voyager for last because it’s super cool. When you click on the boat wheel icon it pops up a list of different places you can explore. You can click through the different choices of “Editor’s Picks,” “Travel,” “Nature,” “Culture,” and “History,” and it will sort options based on what you choose.

As an example, I chose Museums Around the World. This particular trip takes you through 28 museums that you can see on the Street View level in 3D. Not only does it show you the area, but the right hand side shows a card that gives you more information about that particular museum, as well as shows you a rotating view of the inside.  If you click on the person icon in the blue circle, it takes you into the museum for you to explore on your own.  If you hit “learn more” it takes you to a Google Arts & Culture page, which shows you all of the artwork that is currently in that museum’s collection. So neat! I didn’t realize, however, that the “learn more” link will not always take you to a Google Arts & Culture page, but instead will take you to the Museum’s website.  Overall, Voyager is an amazing addition to this new Google Earth.

Try It Out

The whole time I was interacting with Google Earth, I couldn’t help but think how extraordinary this would be if you could view this in virtual reality. You would truly be able to immerse yourself into this experience! This experience is available through Google Earth VR, specifically for Oculus Rift, and I can’t wait to try it.

Now that I’ve given you some insight to this update, you should definitely check it out, especially if you’re a teacher. Have fun exploring the world!

Watch the Google Earth video

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