Skip to main content

Google Earth VR now lets you explore Street View imagery from 85 countries

Google Earth VR - Street View
Google has just enhanced its already impressive Earth VR experience, adding Street View imagery to make the virtual reality app even more immersive.

Up to now, you could fly around the planet like Superman, exploring locations from above using an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive headset. But now you can drop down to ground level to explore Street View imagery from 85 countries using the Google Earth VR app. The content comes from the Street View team as well as regular folks who’ve been contributing 360 photos to the online tool.

In a post outlining Earth VR’s new trick, Google’s Joanna Kim suggests a few choice spots where you might want to get started. They include AT&T Park in San Francisco, and Dubrovnik in Croatia, which Kim notes will be familiar to Game of Thrones fans.

Google Earth VR’s latest feature takes the app to a whole new level — in every sense of the expression — and looks set to make your sofa-based excursions even more real. Offering Street View imagery from so many locations around the world and embedding the functionality into the app should also prove useful for planning trips and checking out places before you go.

Besides the new Street View element, Google Earth VR lets you use the VR headsets’ hand controllers to pass high over countries, with the option to fly around and zoom in to landmarks and other places of interest for greater detail — check out Rome’s Colosseum, Switzerland’s Matterhorn, and Seattle’s Space Needle for some exciting Earth VR experiences. You can also drag the sun and sky around to quickly flip between day and night views.

Google launched Earth VR in 2016, breathing new life into the huge amount of Google Earth content it’s been gathering and creating in recent years. The app has been getting rave reviews, and several updates, like the one this week, are helping it to build on its initial success.

As we noted earlier, you’ll need either the HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift headset to enjoy the new Google Earth VR feature. But if you have neither, you can still check out Street View in VR with a smartphone by downloading the Street View app for the Daydream and Cardboard viewers.

Also, if you’re interested to engage more deeply with Google Earth, check out our guide on how to get Google Earth Pro for free.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Google can now use Street View photos to update business listings on Maps
stanford research google street view cars predict zip code stats maps

Google has been taking serious steps to update its business listings of late. Now, however, it's taking that to the next level. How? By using machine learning to analyze Street View photos, after which it can successfully pull business names and phone numbers.

In recent tests, Google's algorithm was able to read French street signs with an 84 percent success rate. What that means is that those Street View cars you see driving around may not only take photos for Street View, but they may also fill in Google Maps profiles automatically.

Read more
From home to outer space, the new Google Earth is full of things to do
Google Earth

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

Read more
'Hold the World' lets you handle artifacts from Earth's past with David Attenborough in VR
david attenborough natural history attenboroughvr

While David Attenborough's soothing vocal tones have informed millions through traditional 2D documentaries for decades, he's recently taken quite an interest in virtual reality. That's set to continue with his latest project. In partnership with Sky and London's Natural History Museum, he'll be narrating a new experience called Hold the World, a VR application that looks to teach you about objects that you can (virtually) hold in your hands.

The Natural History Museum in London is an enormous building and institution, containing more than 80 million artifacts from Earth's storied history. It's very much a look-don't-touch installation though, due to the fragility of many of the objects there. That is set to change in Hold the World, as a holographic David Attenborough tells users about items as they pick them up and get a feel for what they're really like.

Read more