Google Earth 5.0 Goes All Out With Proper Ocean

    February 2, 2009

Sylvia Earle, a leading oceanographer, once jokingly suggested to Google Earth and Maps Director John Hanke that the former product should be called "Google Dirt."  She asked, "What about the 3/4 of the planet that is blue?"  Her concerns have been addressed today with the release of Google Earth 5.0.

Hanke explained in a post on the Official Google Blog, "We have always had a big blue expanse and some low-resolution shading to suggest depth.  But starting today we have a much more detailed bathymetric map (the ocean floor), so you can actually drop below the surface and explore the nooks and crannies of the seafloor in 3D.  While you’re there you can explore thousands of data points including videos and images of ocean life, details on the best surf spots, logs of real ocean expeditions, and much more."

This is all possible thanks to 20 new Google Earth content layers and more than 100 partners.  National Geographic and Planet Earth are a couple of the more impressive names among them.

There are other neat things to see and do in Google Earth 5.0, as well.  A slider bar that allows people to move through images from different eras is definitely interesting; you can view cities erupt or glaciers melt at will.  A touring feature promises to help people share their favorite paths with other users.  And a 3D map of Mars is available for folks who would rather, in a sense, look to the future. 

It’s not hard to guess how Google Earth junkies will using their lunch hours for the foreseeable future.