Google has updated the desktop version of Google Earth with 3D imagery that was previously only available to mobile users of the mapping program. A new tour guide feature--also included in the Google Earth update--allows you to fly over given areas where Google has prepared guided tours.
Google Earth 7 now has 3D imagery of Boulder, Boston, Charlotte, Denver, Lawrence, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Portland, San Antonio, San Diego, Santa Cruz, Seattle, Tampa, Tucson, Rome and the San Francisco Bay Area (including the Peninsula and East Bay). The application also provides 3D coverage of metropolitan regions in Avignon, France; Austin, Texas; Munich, Germany; Phoenix, Arizona; and Mannheim, Germany.
These are the same areas with 3D imagery on Google Earth for iOS and Android. "The experience of flying through these areas and seeing the buildings, terrain and even the trees rendered in 3D is now consistent across both mobile and desktop devices," Peter Birch, Google Earth Product Manager, wrote in a Wednesday blog post. When zooming in, the viewing angle in the desktop version of Google Earth now tilts at a higher elevation in order to showcase 3D imagery.
The other new feature in Google Earth 7 is tour guide. Instead of searching for tours, thumbnails highlighting pre-created tours for any area you're viewing in Google Earth appear at the bottom of the screen. When you go on a tour, you get a flyover of historical and cultural sites nearby, whether it's Rome, the Great Wall of China, or Stonehenge. There are more than 11,000 of such guided tours, including for all the cities with 3D imagery. Guided tours also include factoid popovers pulled from Wikipedia.
Google Earth 7 is a free download for both Windows and Mac users.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.