Google rolled out its latest version of Google Earth on Thursday. Calling it “the most beautiful Google Earth yet,” the update has managed to eliminate the “patchy” look of some of its images and now presents users with a more realistic depiction of how our planet really looks from up high.
In a post on the official Google blog, Google Earth product manager Peter Birch explained the new, smoother look: “We’re introducing a new way of rendering imagery that smooths out this quilt of images. The end result is a beautiful new Earth-viewing experience that preserves the unique textures of the world’s most defining geographic landscapes—without the quilt effect.”
Both mobile and desktop versions of the software will utilize the improved imagery, and while previous releases of Google Earth will also incorporate it, the latest version—Thursday’s 6.2 release—promises the optimum viewing experience using the new data.
It comes as little surprise to see that the new version of Google Earth now integrates Google+, with the option to, for example, share a screenshot through its social networking service.
“If you’ve already upgraded to Google+, you can share images of the places you’ve virtually traveled to with your Circles, such as family, friends or your local hiking club,” Birch explains. To take advantage of the feature, users need to sign in to their Google account by clicking on the new button that appears at the top right of the Google Earth interface.
Developers have also tweaked the search feature of its software, enabling the same auto-complete function used on Google Maps.
They’ve also introduced search layers, meaning search results will take you far beyond the usual top 10 returns, opening up many more possibilities if, for example, you’re looking for Italian restaurants in a particular town.
Birch announces in the post that biking, transit and walking directions (below) have also been added, “so if you’re itching for a change of scenery or looking for a new route for your regular commute, you can now use Google Earth to generate and visualize all your options.”
Google Earth, which first launched just seven years ago, was already an astonishing piece of software before this latest update, but now, with its smoothed-out aerial views of our planet, it’s just become a real work of beauty.