Google launched a massive redesign of Google Earth — and it’s pretty spectacular. You can now explore Google Earth in Chrome (see here), no download required. Google has also integrated a bunch of new story features in a section called Voyager, where you can take virtual interactive tours, watch exclusive videos and read in-depth content about specific parts of the world. For example, Google worked with producers of the BBC Earth series Planet Earth II in a section named “National Treasures,” giving fans of the series a deeper dive into six episodes: Islands, Mountains, Jungles, Deserts, Grasslands and Cities. There are videos about animals cut from the show as well as videos about what went on behind the scenes. One video involves a Komodo dragon sneaking into a producer’s hotel bathroom.
Google said there are over 50 immersive tours available now, with many more to come. In addition to the Planet Earth II content, you can learn about Jane Goodall’s chimpanzee research and conservation efforts on a Tanzanian tour; watch Sesame Street characters share what it’s like to grow up in other countries like Afghanistan or India; learn about endangered species and their habitats; and take ranger-led tours of the world’s most iconic national parks.
The redesigned Google Earth is seamlessly integrated with Google Street View, if you want to explore on your own. It also has an I’m Feeling Lucky feature, which randomly picks a place to explore for you. Overall, the whole redesign is meant to provide a simplified, yet more immersive experience. And also to get you to spend a lot more time using Google Earth.
The updated Google Earth is available now in Chrome or on Android. Expect it to come to iOS and other browsers (like Safari) in the near future. Additionally, Google also announced an update to Google Earth VR that lets users search for places and adds support for Oculus Rift. Learn more here.