Google’s new wallpaper-friendly satellite images are simply stunning

The world sure is a gorgeous-looking place when viewed from on high, so it’s no surprise that some people like to create wallpapers for their devices using captures from Google Earth.

The practice prompted Google to create Earth View, described by the web giant as “a collection of thousands of the planet’s most beautiful landscapes, seen from space.”

Launched a decade ago, the collection of stunning images has been viewed by millions of people and used as wallpapers for Android devices and PCs, as well as screensavers for Chromecast and Google Home.

This week, Google has significantly expanded the collection, adding more than 1,000 new images to bring the total number of available captures to 2,500. Check out some of the outstanding new shots in the video below:

“The upgraded imagery features more locations around the globe and is optimized for today’s high-resolution screens — featuring brighter colors, sharper images, and resolutions up to 4K,” Gopal Shah, Google Earth product manager, wrote in a blog post introducing the new imagery.

All of the new captures are available in the Earth View Gallery, as well as the Android Wallpapers app and the Earth View Chrome Extension. You’ll also find the images displayed as part of an interactive exhibit in Google Earth’s Voyager, with a handy “download wallpaper” link for each of the pretty pictures.

Shah also noted that the gallery now features “a nifty color map to help you visualize the thousands of Earth View locations, and find a landscape featuring your favorite color.”

The new imagery was gathered with the help of Germany-based Ubilabs, which makes interactive map applications for businesses.  The two companies worked together to create a set of tools that enables efficient scanning of huge amounts of satellite imagery while maintaining fine camera control to get the best possible shot.

Shah is clearly passionate about Earth View and the amazing imagery that it offers, explaining that it has the ability to “elevate our minds from our tiny screens to outer space; the landscapes that materialize when you open a new tab or unlock your phone punctuate your day with a global looking glass.”

He adds: “My hope then is this funny little project — along with Google Earth as a whole — moves us to care more deeply about this strange but kaleidoscopically beautiful planet.”

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