Five years ago, shortly after Google’s acquisition of Keyhole, we introduced the first integration of Keyhole technology into Google Maps — Satellite view. Suddenly, you could see what places actually looked like from the air, and easily switch between this view and the map view. Mapping has never been the same. A few months later, the desktop Google Earth application was released, and now we have over 600 million downloads. Today we are proud to announce the next major step in the marriage between Google Earth and Google Maps — Earth view.
Those of you who aren’t as familiar with Google Earth might be wondering how Earth view differs from the satellite view that’s currently available in Maps. First of all, Earth view offers a true three-dimensional perspective, which lets you experience mountains in full detail, 3D buildings, and first-person dives beneath the ocean. The motion is fluid, and you can see the world from any viewpoint. Because Earth view is built right into Maps, you can switch back to cartographic view simply by clicking on the “Map” button. The view will even adjust automatically to a top-down, north-heading perspective as you transition. In essence, you now have all the best mapping tools at your fingertips, all in one place.
New to 3D? We’ve collected some cool places around the world for you to explore with a single click. Ever been to the Taj Mahal? How about the Sydney Opera house, or South Africa’s Table Mountain? You can even dive under the ocean and check out the wreckage of the Titanic. Just click one of the icons in the left panel and you’ll be flown from space down to your chosen location, which you can explore further by clicking and dragging the map or by using the navigation controls in the top of the view. We have 36 places set aside for you to explore, and you can cycle through them by clicking the “More places” link. We’ve also included a short video introduction to Earth view.
Earth view uses the same technology that powers the Google Earth desktop application. It allows you to view the same high-resolution imagery, terrain, and 3D cityscapes, all from right within your browser. We built the new Earth view on the Google Earth API and browser plugin, which make it easy for web developers to include Google Earth in their own websites. If you’ve already installed Google Earth, you can start using Earth view right away. Otherwise, with one click you can download and install the browser plugin and you’ll be ready to start exploring in 3D. The Earth plugin is currently supported on most Windows and Mac web browsers.
Get started today by going to maps.google.com/earthview, and explore your world in 3D.
(from google blog)