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Google Earth’s Tour Guide feature beefed up with 100,000 new tours

Google has announced a major update to parts of its Google Earth application for desktop, iOS and Android users.

Outlined in a post on Earth’s Google+ page on Tuesday, the update involves the beefing up of its Tour Guide feature.

“Today’s update adds over 100,000 new tours of popular sites, cities and places across 200 countries, as well as enhancements to existing tours,” the Mountain View company said in the post.

Tour Guide runs along the bottom of the Google Earth interface, offering up thumbnails of places of interest linked to the general area you’re viewing at the time. Click on a thumbnail and you’ll be flown over and around the point of interest, with tidbits of information pulled from Wikipedia appearing on screen during the tour.

Google says it’s increased the number of 3D flyovers, a much-needed move as flyovers of landmarks not rendered in 3D tend to leave you feeling a little, ahem, flat. It’s no fun, after all, flying around one of the world’s tallest structures if it’s sitting there on screen as flat as a steam-rollered sausage.

To further enhance the Tour Guide experience, users can explore relevant images from over a million user-generated Panoramio contributions.

“Each tour ends with a selection of photo thumbnails which were selected from Panoramio as the best representation of a given place,” Google explains in the post. “Clicking on one of the thumbnails enables a full screen photo experience.”

The new content is available with version 7 of Google Earth, which was rolled out last year, so as long as you’ve already upgraded, no further downloads will be required.

You can find out more about the Tour Guide feature here.

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