Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) continued its wholesale integration of Google+ with its existing applications, launching Google Earth 6.2 with the capability to let users share their virtual images with their contacts on the social network.
Google Earth 6.2 includes the option to let users share a screenshot of their current Google Earth image, as well as images of places they've already "virtually traveled" with contacts in their Circles.
To share images of cities, oceans and other location to Google+ followers, users must sign into their Google account in the upper right hand corner of Google Earth and click the Share option.
The ability to share to Google+ from Google Earth follows a trend the company has been exacting since launching Google+ last June.
Google wants to make Google+ the unifying thread across all of its products. Naturally, the easiest way to ensure this is to enable users to share information they create across Gmail, search and YouTube via Google+. Google has done just that, and Earth is the latest to get this capability.
Earth 6.2 is notable for a couple of other changes in the software's design.
Google Earth comprises various satellite and aerial photographs taken on different dates (and under different lighting and weather conditions), which is why the high-altitude views in Earth resemble patchwork quilts.
To make imagery more seamless, Google has used a new rendering technology that sheds the virtual boundaries between each service and "smoothes out this quilt of images," according to Google Earth Product Manager Peter Birch. See Google's before and after images of the Grand Canyon and Sri Lanka that use the new technology.
This change affects both the mobile and desktop versions of Google Earth.
Finally, Google Earth searchers will enjoy a more streamlined search panel that includes search layers that show more relevant results, as well as the same auto-complete feature employed in Google Maps.
Google also now supplies biking, transit and walking directions for Earth to enable virtual travelers to see their options in case they want to one day physically travel in the location they're viewing in the application.