Most of us would have definitely tried to find our own locations on Google Earth at least once in our lifetime. Presumably our homes! After that, we probably look up a few more locations, and that’s it.
Well, things just became a whole lot cooler with the unveiling of the new version of Google Earth on Tuesday. Known for showing satellite imagery, topography and 3D buildings, the latest addition intends to offer a little more than just basic information about a place that you would look up on and render a more interactive experience.
Introducing 3D maps for select locations, Google Earth lets you whizz through them and have a detailed observation than what is offered with traditional satellite imagery.
A number of new tools were revealed by Google to help users navigate the virtual globe. Extending out to the mobile platform, Google Earth has become more personalised with its Android-based app.
Amidst many updates, the actual showstopper of Google Earth is the Voyager. Despite being an existing feature, the new one will showcase interactive guided tours teaming up with organisations like BBC Planet Earth, NASA, Sesame Street and the Jane Goodall Institute, replete with rich media, including 360-degree video and Street View imagery.
Source: Google Earth
In fact, click the ship’s wheel icon on Google Earth and you could find yourself voyaging across interestingly curated locations featured under a theme that binds them all together. You can choose between themes like History, Culture, Travel, Nature, or Editors’ Picks. For now, Voyager has uploaded more than 50 stories and each week, more will go air.
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One of new features is the Knowledge Card that pops up stacked at points of interest and allows you to click and expand for more information. The Google Earth team has curated about 20,000 individual locations which they felt had significant aesthetic and educational value — historical landmarks, natural wonders, wildlife hot spots.
Google Earth’s latest feature, Knowledge Cards. Source: Google Earth
Another hallmark, the I’m feeling lucky button, a feature you would always associate with Google search, is amazing in its own way. A click and you will find yourself being dropped onto one of 20,000 completely random but unique and exotic locations. I mean, places like the Okavango Delta in northern Botswana or the Itsukushima Island in Hiroshima Bay, Japan are not ones you stumble upon regularly!
Also, try the new 3D button to see locations from any angle for a completely immersive experience, like navigating all the way around the Grand Canyon and seeing its multi-hued geological layers.
Source: Google Earth
Another awesome feature is that if you’re using the Android app, you can take it a step further: zoom in, pick a view, take a snapshot, and share it immediately as a postcard over text or email or social media. Your recipient will get not only the image, but a link that will provide relevant info and let them view it in 3D themselves.
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Many popular landmarks in India have made it to the Google Earth’s list of places to visit. This would give many across the globe the change to not just explore the places virtually, but also be educated about the the diverse topographies across the country.
Here are some of the points of interest in India as listed by Google Earth:
1.Taj Mahal, Agra: Even Google Earth knows that one place you cannot miss when you think of India is the eternal mausoleum of love, Taj Mahal. Situated on the banks of river Yamuna, the marble structure was built in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
2. Ganges: A dip in the river of Ganges, or Ganga, is considered to redeem you of all sins, according to Hindu mythology. Being one of the most important rivers in the country, Google Earth has charted the journey of the river, which rises in the western Himalayas in Uttarakhand, and flows south and east into Bangladesh, where it empties into the Bay of Bengal.
3. Amber Palace, Amer: More commonly known as the Amer Fort, the monument is one of the principal tourist attractions close to Jaipur. Amer Fort is known for its artistic Hindu style elements. With its large ramparts and series of gates and cobbled paths, the fort overlooks Maota Lake. Constructed of red sandstone and marble, the attractive, opulent palace is laid out on four levels, each with a courtyard. The palace was the residence of the Rajput Maharajas and their families.
4. Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi: Known to be one of the finest examples of Mughal architecture, the monument is the tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun. It was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent, and is flocked by tourists from around the world.
5. Golden Temple, Amritsar: Sri Harmandir Sahib or The abode of God and more commonly referred to as the Golden Temple, is the holiest place of worship for Sikhs, located in the city of Amritsar, Punjab. The fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan, designed the Harmandir Sahib to be built in the centre of this holy tank, and upon its construction, installed the Adi Granth, inside the Harmandir Sahib. The Harmandir Sahib complex is also home to the Akal Takht.
You can use Google Earth by visiting the website that is supported in Chrome or by downloading the Android app. The new version will be available in other browsers as well as iOS soon.