Skip to main content

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.


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.

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)…
How to find downloaded files on your iPhone or Android smartphone
Download folder

Believe it or not, finding files you’ve downloaded on your iPhone or Android phone can be tougher than you think. Even the best smartphones can quickly become a handheld electronic briefcase. Along with the apps you need to get you through your day, it’s packed with photos, videos, files, and other media. While it’s all too easy to download a photo or a restaurant menu to your mobile device, when it comes to actually finding where downloads reside on your phone, the opposite is true. It can be difficult to find a particular file amid heaps of other folders.

Read more
The best mobile games of 2022: 6 must-download titles from a shockingly great year
A character from Lucky Luna stands in front of text that says 2022 Best Mobile Games.

Mobile games have a bad reputation due to many games on the platform utilizing overwhelming microtransactions and other questionable features meant to squeeze the most play time and money out of players. Despite that, plenty of awesome games still emerge on mobile platforms -- ones that don't use those practices at all. In fact, 2022 was a fantastic year for gaming as companies like Netflix and Apple continued to invest heavily in the space with more traditional video games.

As such, those who write off mobile gaming might have missed some truly great games that came out this year. If you're looking for some new mobile games to play when you're bored or need to kill some time, we recommend giving the following six 2022 standouts a shot.
Marvel Snap (iOS, Android)

Read more
How to find a lost mobile phone
how to find a lost phone

We’ve all experienced the existential panic of losing our smartphone, even if it's just for a moment. The sensation of dread goes way beyond losing a wallet or house keys, as, in addition to your smartphone’s monetary value, it also packs critical and private information about you and your family in one place. The idea of a stranger accessing this personal information is chilling.

Read more