Adding to its short but growing list of high profile tie-ups ahead of launch, Leap Motion announced today that the latest desktop version of Google Earth will include native support for its gesture control device. The news come just in time for Earth Day and essentially means users will be able to wave their hands to pan, zoom and spin the globe -- well, at least the 10,000 or so members of Leap Motion’s developer program, for now.
The company posted the video embedded below to offer a glimpse of how the integration will work, along with the following statement from Leap Motion CEO Michael Buckwald.
"Our mission at Leap Motion is to provide a fundamentally better computing experience that frees people to create and explore the digital world in new ways. Google Earth combined with Leap Motion's 3-D, touch-free technology feels so incredibly immersive — people feel connected to the world in a new and compelling way."
Perhaps just as important as the Google Earth integration itself is the fact that the software has been downloaded more than 1 billion times over its lifetime. An app as popular as this adopting gesture controls might serve as a further incentive for developers of all sizes to consider investing their time in Leap Motion’s platform.
For now software partners already on board include 3D design software maker Autodesk, “Cut The Rope” maker Zepto Labs, Double Fine, Disney, Realmac Software, The Weather Channel and Corel. All of them are expected to have applications available at launch or soon after in Leap Motion’s curated Airspace store.
The San Francisco-based will begin fulfilling “hundreds of thousands” of pre-orders starting on May 13th, with retail availability set for May 19 at Best Buy stores across the US, Bestbuy.com, Leapmotion.com and Amazon.uk. Later in the year both HP and Asus will start offering Leap Motion bundles with select products.