updated 02:40 pm EST, Mon February 2, 2009
Google announces Earth 5.0
Google on Monday announced the immediate release of Google Earth 5.0, bumping it up from the previous 4.3 build. Among the biggest changes are the inclusion of a detailed 3D ocean floor, the ability to go up to 50 years back in time when looking at a particular location, record a virtual tour of locations, and a 3D rendition of Mars. The ocean feature was developed together with many partners, including National Geographic, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the US Navy, among others. The approximate two-thirds of the planet can now be viewed under water and includes videos and images of ocean life, along with details on surf spots, expedition logs and more.
The historical images are accessed via a clock icon on the toolbar when viewing a location on the planet. The Touring feature lets travelers show off their journeys by recording navigating through their destinations and easily sharing them with peers. The fly-throughs can be narrated for an organized flow of a multi-stop journey.
Thanks to a joint project with NASA, Google Earth now also extends beyond to include a 3D map of Mars. Apart from 3D terrain, there are annotations describing the location and circumstanced associated with landing sites and the red planet's other curiosities.
The download is free for both Mac and Windows PCs. Comprehensive information on the new features of Google Earth will be published throughout the week on Google's Lat Long blog.