3D Google Earth for Android Released, Incites Requisite Fanboy Bickering on YouTube


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Now that Silicon Valley is in the throes of Google I/O's Garden of Techie Delights, many yummy fruits are dropping from the Google Trees this week. Continuing to roll out the upgraded 3D imagery to more platforms, the company has released a new version of Google Earth for Android with 3D imagery available for several cities in the United States and one iconic European city.

In case you missed the announcement of Google's next generation of mapping imagery, Google is making an ambitious effort to create fully rotatable 3D maps of the world's metropolitan areas. As it was described at the Next Dimension conference earlier this month, the new imagery is intended to give Google Earth users the feeling that they're flying over these cities. Punctuating that the sensation of flight is what you're supposed to be experiencing when you use these new Google Earth maps, Google put together another video to remind you how to use Google Earth 3D:

Aside from being available in Rome, the Google Earth for Android update will contain 3D maps of the following U.S. cities: Boulder, Boston, Santa Cruz, San Diego, Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Antonio, Charlotte, Tucson, Lawrence, Portland, Tampa, Rome or the San Francisco Bay Area (including the Peninsula and East Bay). In the Lat Long Blog post announcing the release, Google says that it hopes to expand the 3D availability to enough metropolitan areas by the end of the year so that the "population" of the Google Earth 3D coverage will be 300 million people.

The Google Earth for Android update with the 3D imagery is currently available in Google Play but a version for iOS has yet to be released. The availability of Google Earth's new 3D maps for iOS has been something of a curious issue as there's been some speculation of how the app might be arriving on iOS given that Apple is now in the 3D mapping business. Given that Google Earth has already been available for iOS for quite a while now, it's hard to imagine that Apple would simply give the app the boot just because it's now got a rival service. Then again, Apple can be notoriously restrictive when it comes to what non-Apple services it will allow users to access on Apple platforms.

Interestingly, in the comments section on the YouTube page for the above video, microbes masquerading as tech fanboys commenced with angrily drooling about who is copying who here, Google or Apple, now that the latter is going to be using its own mapping service in iOS 6. The video hasn't even been posted publicly for a full 24 hours yet there's already 224 comments ripe with insolent vitriol. If you've got a thing for the intellectual equivalent of manually removing turds from a mule's fundaments, or if you just like to document the painful decay of the Queen's English, you might want to pay a visit to the page.