When Google Earth launched back in 2005, it was an undeniably impressive resource — a vivid online atlas unlike anything most users had seen before. We’ve perhaps become desensitized to just how amazing the software is, but recently Google has been hard at work on new features that should restore its wow factor.
An update that was released in April 2017 introduced the Voyager tab to Google Earth, a curated section of the program that whisks users away to see a particular sight. Now, this part of the software has been updated to support live video feeds, according to a report from The Next Web.
The first addition to this strand of Voyager content takes viewers to Katmai National Park and Preserve in King Salmon, Alaska. In association with Explore.org’s Pearls of the Planet program, Google Earth is offering up live video feeds of brown bears catching salmon in the wild.
There are five different video feeds to choose from, with three focusing on different spots around the river where brown bears go to hunt. There’s even an underwater camera that shows off the creatures’ propensity for swimming, and a camera perched high atop Dumpling Mountain that gives a broader view of the surrounding area.
It’s not difficult to catch a glimpse of some brown bears doing what they do best, but there is alternative content in place to ensure that the stream doesn’t get boring when the animals are at rest. Feeds switch to highlights when there’s nothing interesting going on at that particular moment.
Last month, Google Earth partnered with National Geographic to launch new content as part of the Voyager program. Google also supplied schools with Cardboard viewers and other hardware to allow students to take part in Expeditions, tailored VR “field trips” that take learners away to exotic locations.
Google Earth is a really amazing project, and it’s great to see Google putting so much effort in recent months into using it to its full potential. Whether it’s exposing Americans to the important role of the country’s national parks, or giving students a taste of the wider world, this piece of software has the capacity to do a great deal of good.