Google Maps was groundbreaking when it was first introduced, and really exemplified the future and capabilities of web apps. As the massively popular app has matured, so has its features and capabilities. Yesterday Google announced and released Earth view within Google Maps, a 3D look at Earth and a growing list of cities.
You’ll find some screenshots of some neat 3D views you can find in Earth view after the jump.
You won’t get the full power of Google Earth in Earth view but you’ll now be able to view the Earth in 3D, along with many cities’ buildings and features. This is a perfect example of the closing gap between browser capabilities and desktop applications.
When you first try to load Earth view, you’ll likely need to install the Google Earth plugin first (unless you’ve already done so), which was released to developers back in 2008.
I have to say that I’m really impressed with the performance of Earth view within a browser. It is surprisingly smooth and fast, easy to navigate around, almost as if I was running the Google Earth software. Not quite, but close enough.
Hold shift while clicking and dragging your mouse to quickly rotate the viewing angle and map.
Neat 3D Views
As you start exploring, you’ll find lots of neat 3D views and hidden “treasures” along the way. While these may have been available in Google Earth, you can now explore them without downloading the Google Earth software, from the comfort of your browser.
Something I thought was rather neat, was water is actually animated, displaying more like live water than just an image. Very neat!
The first place I explored was my current home town, Las Vegas, Nevada. Downtown is filled with massive hotels and entertaining structures but I was a little surprised to see an advertisement on the Luxor (the Pyramid) for Absolut, an alcoholic beverage. Click the image below to view in Google Maps for yourself.
Eiffel Tower, France
Checking out France was pretty neat, and there are some particularly interesting buildings there.
Sydney Australia, Opera House
Chichen Itza, Mexico
Niagra Falls, Canada
There are tons of really fantastic places to check out in Earth view. Check out the Earth view promotion page, which lists many of the really neat places to see. I’d really love to see neat places you find when exploring so share them with us all via comment below. Thanks!
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