Tuesday, June 15, 2010

iPad App Review: Google Earth

Anyone who's used Google Earth on the computer knows how powerful, intuitive and basically awe-inspiring it is. The iPad app gets about as close to that as can be reasonably expected. I am very impressed at the 3D rendering I'm seeing although there is some understandable lag, probably more due to my WiFi connection than the program or the iPad.



Navigation is seamless and intuitive - it's really fun to hop around landmarks like the Grand Canyon in this, once you get the hang of the gestures. It's definitely worth 5 stars, although it isn't perfect - it doesn't have a built in directions option like Google Maps does, and it doesn't seem to have to options to send locations to the Google Maps application to get directions, which would be the next best thing. Hopefully that's coming in an update. You can locate businesses with this, but links will give you addresses and phone numbers and external website links, not directions integrated into the program.

There are only two layers now - Wikipedia and Panoramio. It doesn't seem to have street or traffic layers. I suppose they are leaving the navigation to the Maps application. Not a horrible idea, this probably improves the app's speed and reduces its size, but it would be nice to have that as an option. Still, the ability to view a highly detail 3D version of the Earth on a mobile device is worth 5 stars alone for me, even without some of the frills.



Hold the world in the palm of your hand. With Google Earth for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, you can fly to far corners of the planet with just the swipe of a finger. Explore the same global satellite and aerial imagery available in the desktop version of Google Earth, including high-resolution imagery for over half of the world's population and a third of the world's land mass.

With Google Earth, you can:
• Navigate the world with a swipe of your finger
• Swipe with two fingers to adjust your view to see mountainous terrain
• Show the Panoramio layer and browse the millions of geo-located photos from around the world
• View geo-located Wikipedia articles
• Use the Location feature to fly to your current location
• Search for cities, places, and business around the globe

Google Earth iPad App Available Here


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