I have not used Google Earth for a long time since I go a new laptop for myself. But when I found out that Google has released a new version Google Earth 6.2, I was curious to check it out. Google Earth is a product that people probably use lesser now a days, as it is more practical to use Google maps.
But true map lovers will probably will enjoy Google Earth a lot more. I think will soon replace most traditional world atlas books anyways.
Google Earth 6.2 Features
The new version of Google Earth makes a big improvement from a visual point of view. Earlier we saw while the map was being rendered, a jigsaw of rectangular blocks show up. Now it is a lot more seamless and smoother.
Also there are many search improvements, along with auto-complete for Google Earth search. This will a big help for users and might attract more search queries using Google Earth.
Finally, the social push for Google Earth comes with the option of sharing screenshots from the software directly onto Google+. Users can also share screen shots via email.
Its new, its fresh and its Google Earth 6, a complete new 3D experience right on your desktop. With Google Earth 6, browse the entire world and feel real with its completely integrated Street view, 3D Trees and 3D Buildings. You can now use Historical imagery in a much easy fashion than Google Earth 5.
New Additions to Google Earth 6 :
3D Street viewing: You can now move across streets as if you are moving through in real. The Pegman view makes it possible to move through the streets right from your desktop. However, the feature is available only for selected places only.
Source: Official website
3D Trees: Google in its yet innovative approach found time to enable over a dozen of trees to be viewed in the 3D mode, supporting the Green movement officially.
Historical Imagery: Now its easier to view the historical images of a place through Google Earth 6. Right when you move over a place, the status bar shows the date of the last imagery and clicking over gets you what you are looking for.
You can find the other videos about it here. If you noticed any other feature then do let me know through your comments below.
Google Earth was that awesome software which allowed you to rotate the entire world and then zoom into cities, suburbs and even your backyard. It was a one of a kind software and we can spend literally hours exploring the world in a virtual way.
Now that gave Google a tremendous product and it even has a premium version for more advance uses like town planning and geological surveys.
Now Apple has decided to crash Google Earth party and bought a company which does pretty much the same things as Google Earth.
Apple has bought a 3D map making service called Poly9.com. The website has been taken down and according to Slashgear, Apple will probably create a competitor to Google Earth.
Google Earth has a fantastic and massive fan base along with customized maps and other information being shown through mash-ups and extensions. This will be very difficult to replicate for Apple but I guess like Google walked into Apple’s territory with Android and then Nexus One, Apple can also crash Google Earth party.
What are you views on Apples plan for a 3d Mapping software? Will it be as successful as Google Earth? Do let me know through your comments.
Branding is very important. Almost all advertising is based on the concept of brand building. Large companies use everything from celebrities to tag lines which make you recognize the brand immediately. There is a trend now a days to brand your company for a previously unknown market which is space.
No aliens are not looking down through space and I am sure Firefox is not branding itself to aliens but it is doing so for a lot of people using Google Earth. A few years ago satellite pictures were only available for government agencies but today anyone with a computer can look up Google Earth imagery.
Image of Firefox crop circle.
Some of these branded images are difficult with Google Earth as you might have to maintain such a branded image on the ground for upto 3 years for Google Earth to pick it up with satelites and make it part of Google Earth imagery by default.
So what Google Earth fanatics do is take these ariel pictures and add it to Google Earth through extensions. The extension for Google Earth to show Firefox brand can be found here. Once downloaded just click on the file and Google earth starts automatically zooming in on the crop circle. 😉
Here is a video of how it works in Google Earth…
I found this a novel way for large companies to advertise especially brand themselves with towns and cities where they have a large presence.
Visit Google Earth Hacks for many such examples of brands being created on the ground specially for satellites to pick them up and make them a part of Google Earth.
If you are a fan of Google products (I must say its getting increasingly hard to come across someone who is not) you might be using Google related software on your computer. As I am about to buy a new computer, I was looking up what is new that Google has to offer. Google Pack is a nice one stop shop to download various Google related software you might want to download in one go.
Have you ever killed time on Google Earth? I do pass my time looking up cities all over the world which I don’t think I can afford to visit. One of the great features of Google Earth are the 3D buildings they have. This gives you a 3 dimensional birds eye view of monuments and famous buildings across the world.
With Google Building Maker you can choose a building from Google Earth’s interface and create a 3 dimensional model of it.
It is quite simple. I needed to visit the Building Maker website. Sign in with my Google Id and select the city in which I wanted to create my 3D building.
Building Maker comes with a host of shapes and sizes in 3D forms which can be called building blocks. Using 6 different pictures provided by Google a decent 3D model can be made.
Once that is done, the 3D model is up for review and if it is good enough the model is included in Google Earth with credits. 😉
There are still some questions being asked on why someone would invest valuable time on Building Maker when there is not payout. Also some have dubbed building maker as a way for Google Earth to get their work done free. I have to agree with this notion as what might be just fun and entertaining for me and you might end up making short work of 3D mapping for Google Earth.
Here is a video which pretty much sums up Building Maker.
A lot of us who use Google Earth do not know about Flight Simulator mode in Google Earth. I have been using Google Earth for over 3 years now and was still unaware of the Flight Simulator tool until a few days ago. With Flight Simulator in Google Earth allowing me to take off from Kathmandu Airport into the mountains, it brought back memories of an addictive video game I had played as a teen almost 10 years ago.
The similarities with Flight Simulatorby Microsoft were too many to not think of this mode as a backhanded compliment by Google Earth developers to Microsoft.
Over Mount Everest with Google Earths Flight Simulator
Google Earth: Flight Simulator
To start Flight Simulator mode start Google Earth and click on the globe once and press Ctrl + Alt + A. This starts the flight simulator mode and the following screen appears.
It is not very complex except the controls seem to be a little too sensitive. The HUD screen resembles being inside a airplane cockpit.
The idea is pretty amazing, especially for kids being introduced to Google Earth. Imagine flying around in a airplane over your own neighborhood on your desktop. 🙂
The whole feel of it, with selecting Airports from around the world and different plane models is very similar to very early versions of Flight Simulator by Microsoft.
Playing around with it I immediately realized that this Easter Egg within Google Earth was like a homage being paid to Microsoft’s Flight Simulator video game.
Microsoft’s Flight Simulator X was less of a game and more of a virtual environment for flying enthusiasts with a virtual environment to simulate the whole world. Google Earth is probably paying homage to a very old and loved video game.
Interesting Factoid: Flight Simulator software from Microsoft is 2 years older than its Windows Licence. 😉
Comparing ISRO’s Bhuvan and Google Earth is that its like comparing a child with a full grown person. Google Earth has been at doing this for a long time so obviously ISRO Bhuvan cannot really reach that level as yet. Ofocurse being an Indian there is that sense of pride one can associate with Bhuvan 🙂
Screenshot of ISRO’s Bhuvan:
Screenshot of Googler Earth:
Some differences between the two:
‘Bhuvan’ is supposed to work with Internet Explorer 6.0 upwards and also recently with Firefox but I could not load it on Firefox. It worked fine with Internet Explorer 6. It still cannot be used with Chrome. Unlike Google Earth I had to register at the site before I could use Bhuvan.
ISRO’s Bhuvan is supposed to have resolution upto 10 mts but when I checked it first-hand I saw its resolution was not even upto the mark compared to Google Earth which is supposed to be about 200 mts. See both screen-shots from my computer which was overhead shot of our office building.
The ISRO site claims I could book-mark places with ‘Bhuvan’ in a map but finding a place on the map is quite a tedious task. The search option is good for looking up a city but not really helpful if you want to find a particular address or even a locality. ‘Bhuvan’ had no easy option for me to bookmark our rtBlogs office. With Google Earth usually most landmarks and roads are covered.
Google Earth is after all an application made by a private company for comercial purposes and hence it is quite open to listing tourist landmarks, cafes, restaurants and hotels. ISRO Bhuvan is a application made by the Goverment of India and hence it obviously has its main focus on not strictly commercial aspect but more on geological factors like water tables and soil elevation.
ISRO Bhuwan has tried to emulate Google Earth and thats not a secret. The design struture the layout has tried to stay close to Google Earth and thats not really a bad thing for first time users but novelty would have been to do something different.
Finally Google Earth has evolved from a company since 2001 and Bhuvan’s prototype beta version was out on 12th August2009 and even ISRO admits it has bugs and they will be fixed over time. The challenges for ISRO will be mainly its ability to handle traffic which is often a goverment owned website’s ‘Achilles heel’.
I dont really think the two softwares will compete with each other in the recent future. Google Earth is far too well entrenched and ISRO Bhuvan has its sights on different functionalities compared to Google Earth. Also ‘Bhuvan’ covers India sepcifically and hence if they really do end up becoming competition to Google it might be only in India. I think that after the initial buzz dies down a bit ISRO’s Bhuvan will target a niche clientele which will include town and city planners along with road and railway developers.
Marking the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing, Google has released Moon in Google Earth. Now millions of people across the globe can explore into the space and reach the moon, learn about the human discoveries accomplished till date. After Mars, the moon is the second planet in Google Earth’s collection, an educational new tool which is a critical step into the future.
Google’s Moon in Earth boasts all the Apollo 11 stories in an interactive 3D medium using Google Earth, and comprises of
3D models of landed spacecraft
Current and historic images
Panoramic images shot by the Apollo astronauts
Street view-like photos that allow you to zoom into 360-degree to see astronauts’ footprints
Guided tours with videos narrated by Apollo astronauts
Rare TV footage of the Apollo missions
According to Anousheh Ansari, Trustee, X PRIZE Foundation, and first female private space explorer on Google blog:
“Moon in Google Earth enables you to explore lunar imagery as well as informational content about the Apollo landing sites, panoramic images shot by the Apollo astronauts, narrated tours and much more. I believe that this educational tool is a critical step into the future, a way to both develop the dreams of young people globally, and inspire new audacious goals.”
All you need is a Google Earth 5.0 and you are free to roam around the moon at your will. Just click on the planet button in the top toolbar and select ‘Moon.’