Google has updated its Google Earth application for the Android platform to include the world's oceans.
Google Earth 1.1 for Android offers a few new features, but most notably the addition of the oceans. With the new software tools and underwater exploratory landscapes, Android users can tap their inner Jacques Cousteau. Sort of.
Google Earth 1.1 doesn't let you snorkel past schools of fish or snuggle up to reefs teeming with sea life. Instead, it offers Android users the opportunity to see what the Earth's surface looks like beneath the water. Google suggests, for example, that users look at the Monteray Bay Canyon, which it says is larger than the Grand Canyon.
There is a "look around" button that lets users change the angle of view and take a new look at what's under the water.
Another tool added to Google Earth 1.1 is what Google calls the "Explore the Ocean" layer. This layer offers up a collection of photos and videos from contributors from all around the world.
Google Earth 1.1 will work just fine on devices with Android 2.1 and higher. Google reserved some special features for devices running Android 2.2 and up, however.
Google explains, "Google Earth now supports Flash in balloons, so if you have the Flash player installed on your mobile device, you can watch videos right in the balloon."
The new software also has some revised navigational tools. The big addition is support for two-finger scrolling, which allows for easier panning back and forth, up and down to change your view of the ocean's floor. User's can also twist two fingers on the screen to change what they are looking at.
I downloaded the software and took it for a whirl. Since I live in New Jersey, I thought it would be fun to explore some areas of the Jersey Shore (no, not the TV show). I opened Google Earth and directed it to the area near Barnegat Bay. Turns out the ocean floor is pretty boring along the New Jersey coastline. I then directed it out into the middle of the Atlantic ocean, near the Atlantic Fracture Zone. That provided for some much more interesting exploration.
The software works well, and I noticed few lags or slowdowns when the software needed to access the network to pull down new mapping information.
Google Earth 1.1 for Android is free download from the Android Market.
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