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Lounge Loves | Google Earth

LiveMint logoLiveMint 28-04-2017 Nitin Sreedhar

Jules Verne’s Around The World In Eighty Days took its protagonist Phileas Fogg on a roller-coaster ride around the world during the Victorian era. Now, the new and improved Google Earth can take you around the modern world in just 80 clicks from the comfort of your living room.

The main highlight of the version of Google Earth released earlier this month is Voyager, a feature that allows users to be part of interactive experiences (thematic tours) from around the world.

One such thematic tour is Natural Treasures. The result of a collaboration between Google and BBC Earth, it showcases wildlife in its natural habitat—islands, mountains, jungles, deserts, grasslands and cities. At the click of a mouse, you can have an aerial view of the Himalayas and learn about its snow leopards. Another click and you can reach the Rockies and learn about the grizzly bear.

Voyager currently has more than 50 such “thematic tours”. According to a Google blog post, more thematic stories will be added every week. The California-based technology company has joined hands with “some of the world’s leading storytellers, scientists and nonprofits to bring the planet to life with Voyager, a showcase of interactive guided tours”, the blog post adds.

With the addition of a Knowledge Card feature, Google Earth has also become a handy learning tool. It tells users more about a particular location, sourcing information from the location’s Wikipedia page.

This visual treat has the ability to teleport the user from one marvel to another. You could be in the middle of the Grand Canyon at one moment. With a click, the virtual globe revolves and you get a bird’s-eye view of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. If you don’t know where to go, then just press on the “I’m feeling lucky” button and Google Earth will take you to an unexpected location. Google has a curated list of 20,000 such locations.

Another new addition is the 3D button, which lets users toggle the view between 2D and 3D. The 3D models are engrossing and the image rendering, impressive. Go ahead and try it. This new feature, and many more, in the revamped Google Earth could bring out the voyager in you.

Released on 18 April; available in Chrome and on Android.

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