Redesigned Google Earth brings guided tours and 3D view to Chrome browsers and Android devices

Just in time for Earth Day, Google has redesigned Google Earth for web and Android. The new version adds new features that let users see 3D maps of specific locations, learn about random places around the world, and take guided tours from their Chrome browser or mobile devices.

Those tours are interactive, and are led by scientists, documentarians, and other experts, helping users learn about our world. Google says more than 50 are available already — under the service’s new “Voyager” section — including a tour of the Tanzanian Gombe National Park led by primate expert Jane Goodall and her team. Also available are video journeys to six different habitats produced by BBC Earth, and a kid-friendly jaunt to Mexico with Sesame Street muppet Lola, to learn about Mayan ruins.

The new Google Earth also adds an I’m Feeling Lucky button, as borrowed from its bigger search sibling. Click it and the service will take you somewhere unexpected, from opera houses in Italy to hot springs in Japan, before showing you a “knowledge card” of interesting facts. While you’re there, you’ll also be able to see the location in three dimensions in your browser or on your mobile device, using the service’s new 3D feature. Press the 3D button in the corner of the UI, and you’ll be able to get a movable drone’s-eye view of historical, geographical, or architectural marvels around the world.

The revamped Google Earth — which the company says was two years in the making — is now available in Chrome or on Android, and will be coming to iOS and other browsers in the future.


Wonderful. The most bloated browser gets even more bloat!

I don’t think that’s how web browsers work

The most secure browser actually.

It’s a website, dude.

as far as I can see this web version uses open technology called webGL which is already built into modern browsers to provide 3d accelerated graphics. This has nothing to do with building google Earth into Chrome specifically – it is all about running a WebGL version of Google earth within Chrome. Soon I suspect that Edge and Safari will run it just as well without either application being built specifically with Google Earth in mind.

It better be coming to iOS soon, because that version is just a 32-bit application, while iOS is now 64-bit and only 64-bit apps will be allowed going forward. I am getting notifications on my iPhone that Google Earth needs to be updated. They will get it done.

On my Macbook Air… "Unfortunately your computer does not support WebGL graphics acceleration; Google Earth cannot be loaded. Please try another device." SIGH

I get the same message from 3D view on Maps on my laptop at home. It’s got a 7970M which should be able to run it, but it’s of a generation where that dumbass Intel thing kicks in and means pretty much everything detects that I only have HD4000 graphics, so nothing will run nicely.

Wait, what am I missing – didn’t they have 3D maps for a while now?

No update to the Windows app?

Looks great. I remember the days when Google Earth was a Windows or OSX app; they’ve ported it to a webapp very nicely. After all these years, Google Earth still makes me think, "wow. wtf. we’re living in the future".

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