A ‘Brand New’ Google Earth Experience Is On The Way

by Jamie Feltham • April 14th, 2017

Six months ago now Google launched a VR version of its Google Earth software for the HTC Vive and to this day it remains one of the best experiences in the industry. There are some updates we’d love to see to the platform, though, and we might get some of them soon.

Google is teasing a “brand new” Google Earth experience that it’s set to unveil on April 18th, 8:30 AM ET at New York’s Whitney Museum of Art. No other details about the experience have been revealed, and it’s very likely that any update would mainly apply to the traditional version of the service that anyone can use rather than the VR version specifically. Still, any such tweaks could feasibly apply to both versions, so we’re still hoping to have at least some VR-relevant news from the event.

Earth currently allows you to visit various locations on the planet and view them in 3D. Tokyo springs to life like a model train set that you can explore in great detail, for example, or you could soar over Yosemite National Park like a bird. It’s an amazing piece of software, though it could definitely benefit from a few updates. We’d love to see more locations in 3D for example, as many non-American sites are simply the flat 2D pictures you’re used to seeing on a screen.

We also want to see it come to more headsets. Google’s Tilt Brush finally made the jump from Vive to the Oculus Rift earlier this year, and there’s no reason this shouldn’t do the same. It would also be great to get some version of the software on Google’s own mobile VR ecosystem, Daydream, which already has staple apps like StreetView and YouTube on it.

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  • tvguy

    Using the HTC Vive, I’d like to see more detail at street level rather than the weird 3D renderings. Some type of Street View incorporation would be wonderful.

    • PK

      yeah, i expected constant updates, more detail, but since the amazing launch i haven’t heard any word. what i’d love is the ability to take 360 shots from inside.

  • Duane Aakre

    I wish they would add a teleportation option. The sliding movement in Google Earth VR is the only time I’ve felt motion sickness since getting my Vive. I’ve always been very sensitive to motion sickness and could never play regular video games. And other than Google Earth, I’ve been careful to stick to games that use teleportation with my headset and have never had any issues.

    • Trooper

      The motion sickness will pass. you can either just keep playing it until you become acclimatised to it or you can get anti motion sickness pills that should be pretty effective. The biggest cause of Mo.sic. is due to frames running at less than 60/70 in my experience and since I upgraded to a 1070 from a 980Ti everything runs at 90/90+ and is a much better all round experience. I hope it clears up soon for you.

      • Mhizzle Ellis

        There’s very little difference between the 980ti and the 1070, in some instances the 980ti even outperforms the 1070.

        • Trooper

          not in VR it doesn’t. In VR the 1070 murders the 980TI otherwise I would have kept the 980ti and given the 1070 to the wife to replace the blown up titan she was using.

  • Trooper

    well they really need to fix the experience so I don’t have to disable my 7.1 surround sound headset just to get it to launch. That is one of the worst bugs I have ever seen in any piece of software.

  • Neil Havermale

    The demise of Earth was premature? From a seemingly dead-ended deprecation of Earth’s API two years ago and waiving off developers plus the incredible, IMHO, Google give-away of Google Earth Enterprise as Open Source three weeks ago, this “new” Google Earth and it’s Whole Earth Catalog provides us plenty of opportunity again?

    In any case, my bet is indeed Daydream and Tango will feature centrally in this “next” opportunity to travel the Earth with new immersions. A revised interface that leverages 3D and more 3D renderings that expand with StreetView? Yes, a rewrite(?) was needed. The original Keyhole product had some limitations, particularly in the area of secure transaction. Just how the Earth and MAPS groups will unite in geography is still to be seen or explained. Google has created many MAPS APIs that all seem to drive to DRIVE? How well with Earth and Maps merge?

    Oh, the places you will go! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e4f2a3009af1546da025abb681d8e7a2772076923d224ba41f37acc7be01ac3a.jpg

    Bubble-cams to the rescue!

  • Now I’m very curious!

  • JQ

    If anyone has had a Wii U, there was a street view app that was sadly discontinued. However the community and usage of this app was amazing. I could literally spend hours discovering the world and visiting places other people saved an d reviewed.

  • ahoving

    or they could just buy SL