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10/27/2008
08:30 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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iPhone Gets Google Earth, Street Views On The Way

Good news for iPhone users this morning. First, Google announced a free version of its Google Earth application for the iPhone. Second, it appears that firmware 2.2 for the iPhone will support Street Views in the Google Maps application. Together, these make the iPhone's mapping capabilities a lot more interactive.

Good news for iPhone users this morning. First, Google announced a free version of its Google Earth application for the iPhone. Second, it appears that firmware 2.2 for the iPhone will support Street Views in the Google Maps application. Together, these make the iPhone's mapping capabilities a lot more interactive.Google Earth is a 3D mapping program that lets users fly all over the planet and see Earth's features, geography and cities in three dimensions. The Google Earth app displays the same imagery and offers the same navigational capabilities as the desktop client and at launch will feature layers with geo-located Wikipedia articles and Panoramio photos, as well as map labels and borders. The app is compatible with first and second generation models of both iPhone and iPod touch operating on EDGE, 3G, and other WiFi networks.

I took the app for a spin this morning, and have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I expected it to be haltingly slow. It wasn't. The software does a good job of creating the 3D images quickly. Google also integrated the application to the iPhone's UI very well. Using your fingers to push the maps around and navigate couldn't come more naturally.

The application is free and available from the iPhone Apps Store.

The other tidbit of news for the iPhone today comes from Apple developers. In the latest build of firmware version 2.2, there will be support for Street Views in the Google Maps application on the iPhone. With it iPhone users will be able to view the same pictures of their destination that desktop users (and the HTC G1) can see when plotting maps.

It also lets users find and see mass transit systems from their iPhone. That's good for tourists and city residents alike.

Neither Google nor Apple have confirmed this, however, and there is no availability date set for the newest version of the iPhone's firmware.

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