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Google Tour Builder

Meet Google Tour Builder, a new way to tell travel stories using Google Earth

Have you ever come back from traveling somewhere and thought that telling stories and posting a few pictures on social media just wouldn’t cut it? Then it might be worth checking out Google’s new Tour Builder project.

Stuart Thomas: Motorburn Editor
Stuart Thomas joined the Burn Media team in 2011 while finishing off an MA in South African Literature. Eager to prove his geek credentials, he allowed himself... More

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Currently in Beta, the project aims to give people a new way of telling stories about the places they’ve visited and the experiences they’ve had along the way using Google Earth.

The internet giant says it originally intended to “give veterans a way to record all the places that military service has taken them, and preserve their stories and memories as a legacy for their families”. It also though however, that it could be a useful tool for anyone with a story to tell, and therefore made it available to everyone.

Right now you need to install the Google Earth plugin which is only available for Windows and Mac OS X 10.6+. While tours can’t be viewed on mobile browsers, they can be accessed using the Google Earth App, which is available for Android, iPhone/iPad, and Linux.

If you want an idea of what’s possible using Tour Builder, there are a couple of galleries you can take a look at without signing up. One of the more interesting ones, from a historical perspective at least, tells the story of Frank Homan’s experiences as a US Marine during the Vietnam War.

Tour Builder Tour

There are also a couple of videos on the front page explaining how some people are already using Tour Builder, from a history teacher using it to bring another dimension to his lessons to a nonprofit charting their global missions.

Once you’ve uploaded a tour, it’s set to private by default meaning that you can choose when it goes public as well as who you share it with. According to Google, you can also go back and edit it any time you like.