In its fourth version Google Earth gave us a view of the sky, in its fifth version the ocean and now in Google Earth 6 we have trees. According to the The Official Google Blog, the latest iteration of Google’s amazing Earth imaging software, released yesterday, features better integration of Google’s Street View, the incorporation of 3D trees as well as historical imagery.
Google’s Street View has been available since 2008 but has in the past been a bit cumbersome to use. GE6 allows for better integration of the “Pegman” mascot, so that it can be “dropped” into any of the streets integrated with Street View for a first person perspective. Navigation is also made much easier, allowing users to switch from street view to overview in just a click and while also enabling users to get a close-up view of different buildings by simply clicking on them. In no small part due to the 2010 World Cup, Street View is also featured in a number of cities in SA
, including Pretoria, Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Google has also incorporated trees in the latest version, with 3D renderings of over 50 species of trees placed in major locations around the world. Over 80 million of them have already been placed with more planned for the future. Locations that have thus far been decorated include Athens, Berlin, Chicago, New York City, San Francisco and Tokyo, but none yet in SA.
One of the lesser known functions in Google Earth is historical imagery that allows users to see historical aerial photos of certain locations. Examples of these photos include seeing London in the 40’s or Haiti before and after the earthquake.This feature was available in previous versions of Google Earth but very hard to find and most users had no knowledge of it. With the new version however a pop-up will appear on the screen to inform users that historical imagery is available for the location.