Google is announcing version 6 of Google Earth, its geographical-exploration software for Windows, OS X, and Linux today. However, the new interface has the same feature integrated seamlessly, so you can enter the full 360-degree panoramic view of the streets just by zooming in on them. The updated version of Google’s popular global mapping program now includes a new and improved seamless Street View mode and three-dimensional trees. The Street View feature was introduced more than two years ago, but required activation by means of clicking a camera icon.
Google added Street View to Google Earth in 2008, but to see the Street View imagery, you’d have to click on a camera icon layered over the Google Earth imagery. Now, Street View is fully integrated with the product, so users can zoom in and see 360-degree, street-level images automatically. Pegman, the orange icon used to navigate Street View, is also now docked alongside the Google Earth navigation controls.
History buffs, meanwhile, will now be able to time travel with greater ease, thanks to Google Earth’s more clearly displayed historical imagery feature. Although Google Earth 5 offered essentially the same capabilities, it wasn’t always clear which cities or regions could be viewed with historical lenses. Now, whenever a user hovers over an area where such historical imagery is available, the date of the oldest images will automatically appear at the bottom of the screen. Clicking on the date will bring up images of that area from that particular period.
3D buildings has been there on Google Earth for some time now. Trees have now been added to liven up the environment. To enjoy these leafy additions to Google Earth, make sure you turn on the 3D buildings layer on the left side panel. As a starting point, try a search for “Palace of Fine Arts San Francisco.” Once you arrive at your destination, click the zoom slider. You’ll then be taken down to the ground where you can use our new ground-level navigation to walk among the trees.
“Just pick up Pegman and drop him wherever you see a highlighted blue road to fly right down to the ground. Once there, you can use the navigation controls or your mouse to look around,” Peter Birch, a Google product manager, wrote in a blog post. “And unlike our earlier Street View layer, you can now move seamlessly from one location to another as if you’re walking down the street by using the scroll-wheel on your mouse or the arrow keys on your keyboard.”
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