An updated version of ‘Google Earth’ was launched on April 18th, and includes a range of exciting new features.
The latest version has been two years in the making, and while it’s currently available only on Chrome and Android, it’s expected to roll out on iOS and other browsers in the near future. If you want to make use of the new version, load up your Chrome browser, and open the Google Earth home page (Earth.Google.Com/web). This has a new look, and you need to click at the top on ‘Launch Earth For Chrome’, which opens up a window titled ‘Gain a New Perspective’. From here, just click on the blue bar titled ‘Launch Google earth’ to enter the new site.
New features can be found on the left of the screen, and include:
· “Voyager” – a showcase of interactive guided tours that will take you to a range of interesting locations including the Grand Canyon, Galapagos Islands, underwater sharks etc. The ‘Natural treasures’ section from BBC Earth is certainly worth a look. There is currently a library of 50 topics, with more to be added on a weekly basis in the future. This is part of the Grand Canyon tour:
· 3D button – which shows any chosen place from any angle in full 3D. While in this tool, users can share ‘postcard’ images with others, allowing them to click the link to jump straight to where you were (virtually) standing. Here is a £D view of London’s docklands:
· ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ button – that randomly selects a location, providing an image plus key information. I have a feeling this could be a useful tool in the geography classroom, stimulating discussion and questions and giving the teacher chance to put individuals or groups on the spot to provide a commentary or a description.
The information cards that pop up with chosen locations can be expanded to provide a wealth of information about different places – much improved content from earlier versions of Google Earth.
In class, Google earth was always instantly available on my desktop – and these new features reinforce what an essential tool it is for all geography teachers.