Google blows away the clouds in Earth and Maps, brings Street View to Earth for mobile

google earthGoogle developers have evidently been busy working on changes to its Earth and Maps services, rolling out a number of updates on Wednesday.

First up, Google Earth 7.1 for iOS and Android comes with a new streamlined interface – a tap in the top left of the screen now brings up quick access to more information through layers like Panoramio Photos and Wikipedia.

The free mobile app has also been updated with Street View. To enable the new feature, you simply drag the human icon in the in the top right onto the street you want to explore. The developers have worked it so that you ‘fly’ down to your chosen spot, with the imagery tilting as you near the ground before morphing smoothly (sort of) to Street View mode. The effect is actually pretty cool and offers a different experience to Maps. See what you think.

Directions have also been improved for the mobile version of Google Earth, and now enable you to visualize step-by-step transit, walking and biking directions in full 3D. You can grab the new mobile version of Earth from iTunes or Google Play now.

Cloudless

Rolling out on the same day are a number of changes to Maps and Earth. New satellite imagery that “virtually eliminates clouds” has been introduced, together with a whole load of new data that “offers a more comprehensive and accurate view of the texture of our planet’s landscape.”

Google’s Matt Hancher said in a blog post announcing the update that his team had recently mined a stack of data from the USGS’s and NASA’s Landsat 7 satellite, using it to create a seamless and globally-consistent image of the whole planet with a resolution of 15 meters per pixel.

Google has also worked to eliminate striped artifacts – caused by a hardware issue on the Landsat 7 satellite – that plagued some of its imagery. And as already mentioned, the clouds have gone too – the pictures below offer an example of the improved data.

earth artifacts
earth clouds

Hancher said that once new data starts rolling in from the recently launched Landsat 8 satellite, we can expect to see a whole lot more high-res imagery added to Google Earth over the coming months and years.

Product Review

Mediocre battery and a big notch slight Google's otherwise perfect Pixel phone

Google’s Pixel 3 XL has two big flaws: The gigantic notch on the front, and mediocre battery life. That being said, this is the best Android experience you can find in a smartphone today.
Mobile

The 100 best Android apps turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

Choosing which apps to download is tricky, especially given how enormous and cluttered the Google Play Store has become. We rounded up 100 of the best Android apps and divided them neatly, with each suited for a different occasion.
Emerging Tech

Ancient continent discovered beneath the ice of Antarctica

Antarctica could be hiding the remains of a long-lost continent. Scientists created a 3D map of the crust beneath the Antarctic ice sheet which shows a similarity to the crust in Australia and India, suggesting they used to be joined.
Photography

Get your Sagan on with 60 awe-inspiring photos of the final frontier

Few things instill a sense of wonder quite like the final frontier. The best space photos show off the beauty of Earth, our solar system, and the far corners of the universe. Here are our current favorites.
Cars

Ambitious but not rubbish: The best 'Top Gear' episodes

Since its relaunch in 2002, 'Top Gear' has become required viewing for any serious gearhead. The great moments from this show may seem too numerous to count, but we've managed to pick some of the highlights from the first 25 seasons.
Mobile

Upcoming Galaxy S10 may support 8K video and have Neural Processing Unit

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Mobile

Netflix is testing a cheap mobile-only subscription tier in some markets

Netflix is trying to reach potential subscribers in emerging markets. To that end, the company has begun rolling out a cheaper, mobile-only subscription tier, which comes at around $4 per month -- half the price of the Basic subscription…
Music

Here's our head-to-head comparison of Pandora and Spotify

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.
Mobile

Samsung will reportedly announce its folding smartphone at MWC in February

Samsung has been showcasing bendable display tech for a few years and now a folding smartphone might finally arrive. The Galaxy X, or perhaps the Galaxy F, may be the company's first example. Here's everything we know about it.
Mobile

Check out 30 of the best iPhone games you need to be playing

The iPhone has some of our favorite games available for any mobile platform. Here are the best iPhone games for every big-name genre, whether you're into puzzles, strategy, or something else entirely.
Mobile

Text messages are disappearing on Pixel 3s, but a fix is on the way

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are arguably the best Android phones out there right now -- but they aren't perfect. Users have reported a number of issues and problems related to the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. Here's how to fix them.
Mobile

Get ready for more V-series phones: LG trademarks names up to the V90

It looks like we should get ready for more LG V-series phones. LG has trademarked names for the LG V50 all the way up to the LG V90. We may have to wait some time before we see these phones; the next LG flagship is expected to be the LG G8.
Home Theater

What is MHL, exactly, and how does it work with your TV?

There are more ways to mirror your smartphone or tablet to your TV than you might think. Check out our rundown of MHL for everything you need to know about the wired protocol and its myriad uses.
Deals

All the best Amazon Black Friday deals for 2018

Amazon may be an online-only retailer, but that doesn’t mean its Black Friday sales are anything to sniff at. In fact, due to its online status, Amazon has huge flexibility with the range of products and deals it can offer. Here's our…