Just when you think Google couldn’t get any cooler, they released a redesigned Google Earth for web and Android. The new version, which has been in the works for more than two years, adds new features such as 3D maps and guided tours.
Google says that more than 50 interactive tours are available. They are led by various experts in the scientific and cultural fields. Just look under the new “Voyager” section. One of my favorites is a tour of the Tanzanian Gombe National Park led by primate expert Jane Goodall and her team. Also in Google Earth, you can find video journeys produced by BBC Earth, and a series of kid-friendly voyages with various Muppets such as this trip to Mexico with Sesame Street muppet Lola, to learn about Mayan ruins.
The new Google Earth also adds an I’m Feeling Lucky button. Click it and the service will take you somewhere unexpected, say the North Island of New Zealand, and show you a “knowledge card” of interesting facts. Be sure and check out the location in three dimensions by pressing the 3D button in the corner of the screen. When you do, you’ll be able to get a movable birds’s-eye view of historical, geographical, or architectural marvels around the world. Choose the Street View to get right down into the action (how about the WWII memorial in Washington, D.C.?)
Imagine using this in your classroom to give students a virtual tour of the areas you’re studying. They can check out the Grand Canyon, Eiffel Tower, the Sydney Opera House or the Coliseum in Rome without ever leaving their desk.
The revamped Google Earth is now available in Chrome or on Android, and will be coming to iOS and other browsers in the future.