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Google Earth’s new facelift lets you explore the planet from your couch

Google has redesigned Google Earth for Chrome and Android, with features meant to inspire you about humanity’s “shared home.”

“Google Maps is about finding your way, Google Earth is about getting lost,” a Google representative said. And it’s not hard to see why.

table mountain 3dThe most astonishing of the new features is Google Earth’s 3D function. Whereas before views were restricted to aerial and street, now Google offers a full 360 degree view of any place on the map.

This imagery is created by combining data from satellites, planes and depth maps to put together realistic 3D renderings.

Another of the new features is the educational tool Voyager.

Teaming up with storytellers and scientists of the likes of David Attenborough and Jane Goodall, Google presents a showcase of interactive guided tours. The tours can take you to Papua New Guinea to learn of its birds of paradise, to Tanzania’s Gombe National Park to meet its chimpanzees, or even to six different houses around the world to learn how others live.

voyager google earth

But if you’re not sure where you want to go, Google has you covered. The new design has incorporated an “I’m feeling lucky” option, which jets you off to a random place on the globe and presents you with its Wikipedia page.

Three clicks of this button took me to the biggest water park in Slovakia, Chuuk Lagoon (a sheltered body of water in the middle of the Pacific), and Rome.

And if you like what you see, there’s a feature for that too. Google now offers virtual postcards: the option to copy a direct link to where you are standing, and send it to anyone you’d like.

Google Earth for Android is rolling out this week, and will be available on iOS and other browsers “in the near future.”

Author | Julia Breakey

Julia Breakey
Julia is a UCT film graduate with a passion for dogs, media, and dog-centric media. If she's not gushing about the new television show that you need to watch, she's rewatching The Good Place (which you need to watch). More

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