Google Earth Adds 3D Images, Mobile Street View Capabilities

Google is again expanding its spectacular 3D photo imagery of cities and destinations around the world, while also now delivering Street View images to users of its mobile app.

Google Earth has received a fresh update of 3D images showing more than 50 cities and towns in the United States, while version 7.1 of the mobile app now features Street View images for users to check out on the go.

The search giant unveiled the new images in a July 2 post on the Google Earth page on Google+. They feature many cities and towns that are included for the first time, according to the post. Other areas are getting updated or additional images.

"Fly through more cities with new and updated 3D imagery for the new Google Maps and Earth," the post stated. "We recently launched/updated more 50 new 3D cities."

The new images cover Anniston, Ala.; Auburn, Ala.; Barstow, Calif.; Bastrop, Texas; Bend, Ore.; Birmingham, Ala.; Boulder City, Nev.; Buffalo Core, N.Y.; Cape Girardeau, Mo.; Casper, Wyo.; Cheyenne, Wyo.; Chicago, Ill.; Chico, Calif.; College Station, Ohio; Delano, Calif.; Desert Hot Springs, Calif.; Dubuque, Iowa; Edmonton, N.Y.; Enid, Okla.; Farmington, N.M.; Grand Forks, N.D.; and Grand Junction, Colo. Also included are Great Falls, Mont.; Hanford, Calif.; Healdsburg, Calif.; Helendale, Calif.; Hot Springs, Ark.; Idaho Falls, Idaho; Kelso, Wash.; Killeen, Texas; Las Cruces, N.M.; Lawton, Okla.; Leeds, Okla.; Madera, Calif.; Malibu, Calif.; Merced, Calif.; Modesto, Calif.; Ocala, Fla.; Odessa, Texas; Ojai, Calif.; Picture Rocks, Ariz.; Pittsburgh; Prescott, Ariz.; Rapid City, S.D.; Redding, Calif.; Riverside, Calif.; San Angelo, Texas; San Francisco; St. George, Utah; Texarkana, Texas; Twentynine Palms, Calif.; Victoria, Texas; Winnipeg, Texas; and Yuba City, Calif.

A complete list of all Google Earth and Maps 3D cities also includes destinations in Australia, Austria, Canada, England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland.

To see the images more easily using the latest version of Google Maps, users are advised to hold down the "Ctrl" key and then drag the camera view around across their display to be able to see in any direction, according to Google.

The 3D images allow viewers to see buildings and cityscapes in 3D, providing a more realistic perspective for the images.

Mobile users weren't left out of Google's latest 3D imagery advances now that the Street View image capabilities have been added to the Google Earth 7.1 app for Android and iOS.

That long-awaited feature was unveiled by Haris Ramic, product manager for Google Earth, in a June 26 post on the Google Lat Long Blog.

"Whether you're on foot looking for the best sushi place in a new neighborhood or you'd like to do some virtual archaeology around Pompeii, we're all explorers of the world around us in our own way," wrote Ramic. "Your definition of adventure is unique, so we like to offer several ways to explore the world. With the latest edition of Google Earth for Android or iOS—now available in more than 100 countries—your virtual adventures will be even more amazing and immersive."

The addition of Street View to Google Earth allows mobile users to "explore many sites from street level right on your mobile device," wrote Ramic. "And with the new streamlined interface, a simple click of the Earth logo in top left will give you quick access to more information through layers like Panoramio Photos and Wikipedia. Just in case you decide to visit these places yourself, Google Earth's improved directions enable you to visualize step-by-step transit, walking and biking directions in full 3D."

In January, Google Earth added another 100,000 virtual tour sites around the world to its listings, building on a provocative "virtual tour" feature that launched in October 2012 as part of the Google Earth 7 release. The virtual tour guides act as local exploration experts, suggesting interesting places near the location a visitor is exploring. The update added more than 100,000 new tours of popular sites, cities and places across 200 countries, as well as enhancements to existing tours.

The expanded tour feature was enabled after Google in 2007 bought Panoramio, a community-powered Website that links photographs on a map to the exact geographical location where they were taken. The images on Panoramio do not usually include people, but mostly illustrate interesting and even mundane sites, places and scenes around the globe. Users can click on one of the thumbnails to see more information about an image and its location.

Tour guides debuted on Google Earth in June 2012 when Google unveiled its Google Earth for Mobile services. The first tours included 11,000 popular sites around the world. By last October, the tour guides were expanded to the Google Earth desktop version.