Sometime the Earth can seem like a pretty rough place. Between wars, political turmoil, and the newly revived threat of nuclear war, it can be hard to think about all the wonder still left in the world. But thankfully for all of us, Google Earth has been rebooted and is here to remind everyone that we all live on this beautiful third rock from the sun together.
On Tuesday, just a few days before Earth Day 2017, Google launched a totally reimagined Google Earth, which now includes stunning satellite imagery and brand new photographs of the planet. Users can now explore the planet with interactive stories, use 3-D navigation, and more.
“We’re starting with more of a consumption experience,” Sean Askay, engineering manager for Google Earth, said at a press preview. “The direction we’re interested in with Earth is letting you tell the stories.”
Other newly added bells and whistles include “knowledge cards,” which, according to Business Insider, provides users with information about the places they’re seeing; “Voyager,” which takes users on one of dozens of curated journeys around the world; and “Feeling Lucky,” a feature that will randomly select one of 20,000 less well-known locations around the globe for users to explore.
“We think of it as the front page of Google Earth,” Gopal Shah, product manager for Google Earth, told CNET. “You can get lost in this stuff.”
While certainly a fun and totally time-consuming site, Google Earth is also often used by nonprofit organizations such as the Halo Trust, which, as CNET also pointed, out uses the app to map the presence of land mines, and by Australia’s Department of Environment and Conservation, which uses Google Earth to discover the formation of rare coral reefs.