Tag Archives | Google Earth

A Supercar for Gadget Nerds

For my latest TIME.com column, I got to spend time with Audi’s new A7. It has a supercharged V6 engine, an eight-speed Tiptronic transmission, and all-wheel drive. That’s great, but what got me excited was the Google Earth-based navigation, dual SD slots, handwriting recognition, and onboard Wi-Fi hotspot…


New Google Earth Recreates Your Adventures

Google is unleashing a new version of Google Earth, version 5.2, today. It’s the biggest update since Earth 5.0 added the oceans and Mars in February of 2009–and while it’s not that big, it’s got one major cool new feature and one modest-but-useful one. Google gave me a sneak peek of the new version last week.

The major cool new feature is aimed at folks who like to go adventuring and take a GPS navigation handheld along. If you tote a GPS unit such as the ones from Garmin and Magellan to track a hike, bike ride, sailing trip, or any other excursion, you can transfer the data to Google Earth once you’re home. In the past, doing so involved creating thousands of points of geographic information, but the new version of the software can create simpler plots of where you were at any given point in time. And it lets you view this data as birds-eye animations that track where you went, recreated with Earth’s wealth of geographic photography and 3D imagery. You can also share the reconstructions with other Google Earth users or publish them using the embeddable version of Earth.

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To the Moon With Google

Google Earth LogoGoogle is celebrating the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11 in the most logical way possible: It’s added the moon to Google Earth in much the same way it took us to Mars a few months ago. You can now circle the moon and explore its geography and landmarks, take a couple of tours (including one narrated by Jack Schmitt, the last man to set foot on the moon), and view videos and high-resolution photos. As a technological feat, it’s not as amazing as getting to the moon with the help of computers as they existed in 1969, but it’s an impressive and fun addition to one of Google’s most impressive, fun products.

Google Moon


5Words for February 20th, 2009

5wordsLet’s get newsy, shall we?

Found: Atlantis. In Google Earth!

Intuit questions Mint user claims.

Greeeeaaaaat: Conficker worm variant appears.

Is this leopard a clue?

CBS and Hulu are squabbling.

Pirate Bay: YouTube pirates more.

Apple kills 20-inch display.

Senior citizen shoots analog TV.

NetFlix may offer streaming subscriptions.

Asus might make Android netbooks.

Apple: Buying all Samsung’s memory?

Hackers bump Xbox Live players.

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5Words for February 11th, 2009

5wordsHowdy–here’s what’s going on:

Twenty thousand iPhone apps? Wow.

For-pay Android apps imminent.

Remember BeOs? Haiku clones it.

Windows Mobile Firefox movin’ along.

New BlackBerry Curve arriving soon.

Ahoy! Treasure found in Google Earth.

Book authors hate talking Kindle.

Zuckerberg college buddies paid fortune.

Canadian bookseller launches Kindle rival.

No more Windows 7 downloads.

Microsoft ships four security patches.


Al Gore+Google Earth=?

Al GoreGoogle Earth has scheduled an event for Monday after next to “announce the next big step in the evolution of Google Earth.” It’s at the snazzy new California Academy of Sciences science museum in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, and among the speakers is former Vice President Al Gore. Also attending are representatives of the National Geographic Society, including ocean explorer Sylvia Earle.

I don’t know the specifics of the news, but over at CNet, Stephen Shankland is speculating that it might involve 3D maps of the world’s oceans. Sounds logical enough. I plan to attend the event, and will let you know what transpires.

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When in Google Earth, View as the Romans Viewed

googleearthGoogle Earth, which has a strong a claim as any Google creation to being its single neatest offering, is adding an exceptionally neat new feature: a 3D recreation of Rome as it was in 320 a.d., complete with the Roman Forum, the Colosseum, and all the other landmarks you’d expect.

(I say “is adding” rather than “has added” because despite the download page‘s statement that Ancient Rome there in gEarth’s Layer View, I didn’t see it in either the Windows or Mac copies of Google Earth I just downloaded–either I’m doing something wrong or the download isn’t quite ready.)

I can’t wait to try it; in the interim, here are some images and a Google demo.





Won’t it be spectacular when most of the most interesting civilizations of world history have been recreated this way, in even more detail–as they surely will be over time?


Google Earth…Now in Convenient iPhone-Size Form

I still remember the first time I saw Google Earth–back when it was known as Keyhole Earth viewer and wasn’t yet owned by Google–and how its intensely graphical virtual portal to the real world’s geographic richness knocked my socks off. Last week, Google gave me a sneak peek at Google Earth for iPhone and iPod Touch, which is live in the iPhone App Store in Australia now and due in the U.S. store soon And once again, I was dazzled.

The iPhone version of Google Earth is dazzling because…well, because it feels just like Google Earth, but it’s also very much an iPhone app. It begins with the same big-blue-marble view of the earth; enter any location, and you can fly there via smooth animation and high-resolution satellite imagery. Once you’ve landed somewhere, you can pan around, zoom in and out, and click on Wikipedia and Panaramio icons to read articles and see photos relating to local landmarks. In the hands-on time I got at Google’s offices, at least, everything was remarkably fluid and fast, just as with deskbound versions of Google Earth.

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