This new version includes ocean in Google Earth, a new feature that enables users of Google Earth to dive beneath the water surface, explore 3D underwater terrain and browse ocean-related content contributed by leaders in ocean science and advocacy. Google also introduces Historical Imagery, a feature that enables users to virtually travel back in time through archival satellite and aerial imagery, Touring, which makes it simple to create a narrated tour in Google Earth and share it with the world and Google Mars 3D, which features hi-res imagery and terrain of the red planet.
GPS tracking has also been introduced as a common feature, previously only available in the Plus and Pro versions of Google Earth; now all users can upload both historical and real-time tracks from GPS devices, including many Garmin, Magellan, and other NMEA-compatible devices. Google has also enlarged the number of supported languages from 26 to 41.
In the four years Google Earth has been available, this software has radically changed consumer perception towards “GIS” tools. Features such as aerial imagery or 3D cities, which were unknown outside the small crowd of GIS professionals, are now common and in many ways requested by consumers on their computers, their phones and their PNDs. In watching the new features displayed in Google Earth today, consumer LBS marketers should have a pretty good picture of what their customers will expect as standard in 18 to 24 months.