Explore the World Virtually with the New Google Earth

Ciudad de las Artes y Las Ciencias in Valencia, Spain on Google Earth | Courtesy of Google
Ciudad de las Artes y Las Ciencias in Valencia, Spain on Google Earth | Courtesy of Google
Photo of Peter Ward
Tech Editor19 April 2017

Google Earth, everyone’s favorite way to view their home from space, has a host of new features as part of a huge update, and many of them are part of an effort to help users broaden their horizons.

The new version of Google Earth is available on web browsers and Android, and has been two years in the making.

Perhaps the most exciting new feature is Voyager, a series of interactive tours of some of the most exciting places on the planet. Google has teamed up with publishers, non-profits, and scientists for the series. BBC Earth offers Natural Treasures via Google Earth, where users can visit six habitats to learn about the wildlife in each.

Another story is based in Gombe National Park in Tanzania, where primatologist Jane Goodall explains her team’s chimpanzee research and conversation efforts. There are more than 50 immersive stories on Voyager right now, with more being added weekly.

The “I’m feeling lucky” feature takes users to a random destination from 20,000 different places. A 3D button has also been introduced, which will allow people to see destinations from different angles.

Google Earth VR has also received an update. “When we first launched Google Earth VR, we knew there was something powerful about being able to point anywhere in the world and start flying. You could soar over landscapes and cities, and discover locations you didn’t even know existed. But we also know people want to quickly find and revisit the places that mean the most to them, whether it’s a childhood home or favorite vacation spot,” a company blog post read.

Google Earth VR will now be available to Oculus users, and will feature 27 new handpicked locations that will help people explore the world. Those locations include Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, Mt. Lassen in California, Palermo in Italy, and Table Mountain in South Africa.

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