Google Earth gets a big update

Google has updated their popular world mapping software with new features like ocean imagery, historical and touring. The newly updated Google Earth 5.0 allows users to take a trip back in time with the historical imagery, where available to see how land and buildings have changed over the years.

One of the biggest updates is the ocean view, where users can view and browse ocean levels that take users on a tour of selected places, with images taken from partnership programs, like National Geographic. The update gives users the chance to experience images and videos from around the globe, showing detailed images from just below the surface.

Google Earth 5.0 also comes with a touring feature where users can record, save and playback recorded sessions from any angle, for playback later. The update also includes a look at Mars in 3-D, where users can view the red planet in high-revolutionary imagery.

Link: Google Earth

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I'm not downloading this until there's a single installer I can download once and run on all my machines from there. So, Google...where is it?

WOW! They really went all out on some cities. My home town of Vancouver, BC (host of 2010 Olympics) had just a handful of buildings in Photorealistic 3D until the V5 update. Now they've got almost every single building done in the Downtown core. Amazing!

excalpius said,
I agree this is cool, but just FYI this is NOT "photorealistic".

Gosh, Really? I wouldn't have been able to tell from that image unless you told me.

"photorealistic 3d buildings" is just the term google earth uses to refer to textured 3d buildings, as opposed to gray 3d buildings which are untextured. probably not a very accurate term, but it's getting there in terms of realism. considering that with v4.2 there was MAYBE a dozen textured buildings for vancouver, this is a huge change, and i'm sure it applies to other cities as well.

so i can see what the ocean floor looks like, but i can't peek at my tiny rural ohio hometown?

wow, that's amazing.

Sounds cool, but why don't they have USGS aerial photography? Rural areas in Google Earth are just green blurs.

Edit: I just went to the new historical imagery tool and when I turned it back to 2007 everything popped up in high resolution USGS. That's weird, so they normally don't show it because it's a bit outdated? I'd rather have year old images than none at all. At least there's a way to show it now, but it's a strange way to have to do it.

Have you tried to install it and then removing the background software updater?

That new agreement on having something running on the background that isn't really needed sucks.

Yeah, that window scared me at first. It reminds me of when you want to install Windows Live Messenger, and it asks you to install like 10 other things at the same time. Errrrrrm, NO.

Also, is Google Earth made in Java or something? It's just freaking slow here :-
I thought they would have optimized it a lot, but no. At least they polished the interface a little, but it's kilometers away from representing a true OS X app.

under Vista after launching install file, it just start downloading files without any questions, notifications about google update, firewall is totally ignored... google is going by microsoft way?

Mokusei said,
under Vista after launching install file, it just start downloading files without any questions, notifications about google update, firewall is totally ignored... google is going by microsoft way?

What did you expect it to do? Cook you breakfast?

Still really hoping someone can get ahold of a full-install link.

Infusion- said,
What did you expect it to do? Cook you breakfast?

Still really hoping someone can get ahold of a full-install link.


no darling, is your duty to make breakfast

i was expecting that firewal will scream about intruder calling home, at least

Infusion- said,


Got a link for a full-install? This is a downloader for the program.




it installs just google earth... no installer or updater is installed

signalpirate said,

it installs just google earth... no installer or updater is installed

BS!... ive just install fom 1st link and theres google update.

just installed it on OSX, requires Google updater, and wont run unless i install the updater, looks like im no longer using Google Earth. personally ill update it when i feel like updating it, and dont care for it running in the background.

Ali Koubeissi said,
Google is ..... superior.

Not everywhere. Google has absolutely terrible pictures of Nebraska and you can't zoom in at all. With MVE you can view in pretty good detail images from about 4 years ago.

quite true. some pictures are more updated in Virtual Earth. Birds eye view is unique. Can get quite close on Pioneers Park in Nebraska. Although streetview of that peak is a bit better in google earth

PatrynXX said,
quite true. some pictures are more updated in Virtual Earth. Birds eye view is unique. Can get quite close on Pioneers Park in Nebraska. Although streetview of that peak is a bit better in google earth
Exactly! Try looking up the area southwest of Lincoln (Wilber) on Google Earth and you will see what I mean. I haven't looked in about a year so maybe they updated that area, but jeez.

Pretty neat. I like the Ocean feature.

So, how does Google Earth compare to Microsoft Virtual Earth, much the same thing ?

They both have their pros and cons, though I like MVE better.

MVE has a much better web interface - It's always been ahead of Google Maps in terms of features (first to have Traffic data, 3D cities in color, collapsible panels, Birds-Eye View, among others) and I'm surprised at how Google Maps has been more or less copying the stuff Live Search Maps has had. In some areas, MVE has some better aerial imagery than Google Earth's. Vice versa.

What makes Google Earth special though, is that there's a nice end user application, with some special features like layers and whatnot.

I just use Microsoft's end user Live Search Maps, while most enterprises are using the real MVE. Maybe they'll make it more accessible to other developers at some point.

I can't even compare the two; Google Earth has so much better international coverage in areas that matter to me, as well as a stronger community that provide information that integrates with their maps.

Sam Symons Live said,
Looking forward to trying out the Time feature :D

That feature will only work if they have a previous photo taken.. usually of an old town or something. Not the greatest feature :P

lylesback2 said,
That feature will only work if they have a previous photo taken.. usually of an old town or something. Not the greatest feature :P

I think it is the best feature yet. :P I live in a fast-growing city, so it is interesting to see the the different images over the last decade.