July 29, 2012
Google Earth 3D Released For Select Apple iOS Devices
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
Android users no longer have exclusive access to Google Earth's 3D imagery on the go, as the feature was unveiled this week for select Apple iOS-powered devices, according to Deborah Netburn of the Los Angeles Times.
According to Netburn, anyone who owns an iPad 2, an iPhone 4S, an iPod Touch 4, or a more recent device will now have the ability to take virtual tours of detailed three-dimensional landscapes -- a feature that those who own smartphones or tablets running Google's operating system have had since June.
"To create the maps, Google uses chartered planes that snap aerial images of every street and structure in major cities from different angles," Netburn said. "So far, about a dozen cities have received the Google Earth 3D map treatment, including Boulder, Colo.; Boston; Charlotte, N.C.; Los Angeles; Portland, Ore.; the San Francisco Bay Area; and Santa Cruz. Rome is the only city on the list that is not in the United States."
From this point on, as more 3D cities are added to the Google Earth database, they will be made available to both Android and iOS users at the same time, according to CNET's Josh Lowensohn. Furthermore, product manager Peter Birch told Lowensohn that the Mountain View, California-based company is looking to expand coverage to more than 300 million people by the end of the year.
The iOS release of the 3D Google Earth maps comes "months" before the planned release of Apple's own 3D mapping application for their mobile software. That application was announced by the company back in June, according to CNET, and will also offer turn-by-turn directions and other features mimicking GPS software .
While Google may have beaten Apple to the punch, Apple Insider writer Mikey Campbell reported on Thursday that he believed the beta version of the iOS 6 Maps app offered more detailed images than version 7.0.0 of Google Earth. He said that Google's software "offers markedly less detail and overall resolution" than its Apple-developed counterpart, and also showed "major signs of post-rendering while Apple's version is crisp and detailed."
There were other updates to the Google Maps and Earth services this week as well, according to Engadget's Alexis Santos. Santos reports that new high-resolution aerial and satellite pictures had been added for 25 cities and 72 countries and/or regions, and that 21 US cities and seven international locations -- including London, home of the 2012 Summer Olympics -- had received new, 45-degree perspectives.
A complete list of the cities that received enhanced aerial photos and the new 45 degree imagery was posted Friday at Google's Lat Long Blog, the official blog of the Maps and Earth Team.