Google unfolds new map options
Google Inc. has added more video and other bonus features for users of its popular three-dimensional mapping software to unearth even more information about destinations around the world.
The latest innovations are available to any computer with Google Earth software installed.
Google says more than 100 million copies of the software have been downloaded since it was first offered to the general public last year, making it one of the company's most successful products outside its industry-leading Internet search engine.
The mapping software is free for Windows, Mac and Linux computers, although premium versions are available for sale.
Google Earth's latest attractions, activated by clicking on a "featured content" box, include online video of cities and popular tourist attractions provided by Discovery Networks and Turn Here, an Emeryville-based startup.
The U.S. federal government also is providing details about all 58of itsnational parks, and the United Nations is supplying time-stamped images documenting the environmental decay in 100 areas, including the Amazon and Africa.
The latest Google Earth upgrades come three months after the Mountain View-based company expanded the satellite imagery used in the software to quadruple the amount of land covered, enabling about one-third of the global population to obtain an aerial view of their homes and neighbourhood.
The new features aren't available through Google's mapping website.