Google EarthGoogle Earth, now out in version 5, is a free program that lets you glide around the world, zooming in on photos, video clips and satellite imagery.

Recently, they’ve added another world: Mars. Google has linked to the cameras on NASA’s Mars Rover and the Mars satellite orbiting overhead. Like Google’s images of Earth, you can look at the view from above or right down at ground level. There’s not a whole lot to see on Mars, but you may be the first one to see it, since the images are live just an hour or so after they were taken. If you see anyone waving, please let us know.

Google’s other new world is the ocean all around us. As you look at the large scale 3D map of the world’s coastal waters to begin, you will see points of interest marked. These are spots where both underwater and above water photography are usually available. Some clips are of shipwrecks, others of changes in marine life. We watched an interesting underwater movie of sea urchins destroying kelp near San Francisco. Another film showed killer whales eating baby seals off the coast of Patagonia. (They only eat three, never more. And they come up on the beach to get them.)

There are two more tools of special note for these maps. One is a legend along the left side of the screen and this lets the user choose subject matter. You can select famous sites, like the Eiffel Tower, Tokyo’s Imperial Palace, Las Vegas, etc., and view movies of that place. You can also choose by subject: buildings, border crossings, shipwrecks, etc. The other new tool we found remarkable was an icon that looks like a clock. Click on the clock, and you can go back in time for some sites. We saw maps and film of baseball parks that no longer exist, Washington, D.C. as it was half a century ago, and World War II bunkers. You can record your journey and email it to friends, but they must download Google Earth to see it; there’s no charge.

Recently, the Google team has talked to scientists about putting up photos of environmental problems, like the trash floating in the ocean. So far there’s been no response. We thought Google Earth would get more photos from people if their upload site, “Panoramio” had a simpler name. You can go there and upload photos that others will see when they tour the planet. Or, while looking at a place, just click the upload button to add a photo of your own. Panoramio was a Spanish company before Google bought it, so people in Spain have uploaded a lot.

You can get Earth 5.0 at If you already have the program, click “help” to check for updates for the latest version.


4 Responses to “GOOGLE EARTH 5.O”

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  4. Do I have to change to google and have all my computer screen sets changed to view google earth 5.0?