Google optimizes Google Earth for Android tablets

By on May 5, 2011, 9:28 PM

In February 2010, Google released Google Earth for Android version 1.0. Now the company has released an update (version 2.0) that takes advantage of the larger screens and the more powerful processors of tablets.

Version 2.0 is only available for Android 2.1 (codenamed Éclair) and above while the new tablet design is available for devices with Android 3.0 (codenamed Honeycomb) and above. To download or update Google Earth on your mobile device, you can head over to m.google.com/earth or grab the new version from the Android Market.

In version 2.0, Google has added support for fully textured 3D buildings, a new action bar up top for easier access to search, the option to "fly to your location," and layers such as Places, Panoramio photos, Wikipedia, and 3D buildings. Features like content pop-ups appear within Earth view, so you can see more information without switching back and forth between pages, like you have to on a smartphone.

Google Earth is a virtual globe, map, and geographical information program that was originally called EarthViewer 3D. It was created by Keyhole, a company Google acquired in October 2004. The software maps the Earth by the superimposition of images obtained from satellite imagery, aerial photography, and GIS 3D globe.

Google Earth was originally available under three different licenses, but now there are just two: Google Earth, a free version with limited functionality, and Google Earth Pro ($400 per year), which is intended for commercial use. The latest version is Google Earth 6, released in November 2010.

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