It was already easy enough to lose yourself in Google Earth. Whether you’re dodging through the narrow alleys of Kobe, Japan, or skimming Lake Achen in Austria, Google Earth offers rich 360-degree content, along with spectacular satellite imagery that can satiate any hunger for exploration.
But Google went a step further this week with a major update that not only redesigned the interface, but also added rich textual and visual content from partners such as BBC Earth, NASA, and the Jane Goodall Institute. The new Voyager tab acts as a curated magazine that houses stories from these select partners, and it even features never before seen behind-the-scenes content from shows such as Planet Earth II. There’s also plenty of packaged content from the Google Street View team you can check out.
Say goodbye to any other plans you had this weekend, as we explore all the new possibilities in the new Google Earth.
This is home
The first address most of us type when we see the blue marble floating in space is home. It’s why one of the highlights of the Culture category in the new Voyager tab is a series called “This is Home.” This series takes a look at some traditional homes of cultures and people most of us may not know much about. There are five homes you can visit at the moment: an Inuit Igloo, Bedouin tent, Reed House, Sherpa home, and Greenlandic Illoq. Tap on one and you’ll be taken to the geographical coordinates, with a brief description of the person and the area. There are usually three “cards” telling the story of the culture and the home — the first shows the satellite view, the second offers a Street View 360-degree image, and the third takes us into the home itself. Stories of more homes are on the way.
Nature and wildlife
With the new Voyager tab, you can learn more about nature and wildlife than ever before. Partners include BBC Earth, the Jane Goodall Institute, the World Wildlife Fund, and The Ocean Agency, among others. What’s neat is that much of the content is from decades of back catalogs from these various agencies, and you can even find behind-the-scenes content that has yet to be aired — such as when the BBC Earth team found a Komodo dragon in their bathroom. A lot of this content includes videos you can watch in Google Earth, without needing to leave the site.
The Natural Treasures series, for example, lets you choose environments like “Islands,” “Mountains,” and “Jungles,” to explore. For example, if you choose Mountains, you’ll get a story describing major mountains and the surrounding area. Most of these have accompanying videos you can enjoy.
“We’re trying to give viewers that deeper experience,” Chadden Hunter, a producer at the BBC Natural History Unit, told Digital Trends. “With this fully interactive tool, we’re hoping people will just explore for hours.”
There’s a lot of content to sift through, as there’s more than a…