Google Earth VR has been officially launched by Google’s Geo team – and it is for free. The technology is currently available for anyone who wishes to fly around the world. You will even have a full view of Mount Everest from above or climb it virtually from below.
The Google Earth VR serves as a ticket to anywhere. Google’s Geo team was responsible for Google Maps and Google Earth. The team has been collecting massive amounts of visual data from all over the world for many decades. The time is now to experience the fruits of their labor and share it to the masses for free.
“94 percent of the world’s population is covered in this experience. 54 percent of the Earth’s landmass is covered. There are around 175 cities with full, 3D data, and over 600 ‘urban cores’ as well,” says Mike Podwal, Google Earth VR’s project manager. Anyone can immerse in the Google Earth VR using the HTC Vive VR headset.
How It Works
The journey begins from outer space with a view of the earth. Them the user can rotate the globe and choose a spot. From there, the user may zoom in. After a few minutes, the user is able to navigate through the area. For instance, if he landed on Africa, he is able to hover around from a few hundred feet above the ground.
A menu can also be pulled up so the user can instantly choose which specific place he wants to visit virtually. Using the Vive controller, the user is able to explore places from left to right and above or on the ground. The possibilities are endless.
The mechanism used in Google Earth VR is flight, so the user will have a sort of drone camera POV.
The Pleasure of Freedom
What users will experience using Google Earth VR is the pleasure of being free, seemingly flying around the world. It provides a great immersive experience that the users claim they forgot they are in one stationery place – at least physically.
As of the moment, the technology is compatible only with HTC Vive. Dominik Kaeser, the team’s engineering lead, says they are working on compatibility and connectivity mode with other wearables such as Oculus Rift.
What to Expect
Podwal and Kaeser both claim that the discovery of Google Earth VR is accidental, but they are finding ways to make this an even more immersive and interactive experience for users. In addition, they are pushing for more innovative ideas that is accessible for free – for all.