Google Earth 6.2 Released.

Google Earth 6.2 is now available for download. Amongst the updates is the improved view of the planet – Google have gone out of their way to make it look a lot more like the real thing by smoothing over the lines that separated swathes of satellite photography from different periods/sources. This is only a cosmetic update, but it’s a welcome one. Though we all know we’re not looking at the real thing, it’s appreciated that someone put the work in to make the experience a little smoother.

Other features include a vastly improved search facility and interface. Having played around with the new version, it dawned on me how much I disliked the old version – don’t ask me why – it just seemed to jar with the rest of the experience – once I’d located what I was looking for I couldn’t wait to shrink it back to nothing again. Now it’s a lot more like Google Maps. It can also display directions, including biking, and walking. It will be interesting to see how the suggested walking routes match up with experiences on the ground. They have also tweeked the rendering, by all accounts, including making anistoropic filtering a default setting. This essentially improves the view and enhances clarity when tilting. Causal users may want to turn it off again (which you can though the ‘tools’ menu) but for people who spend a lot of time in GE, you will notice the difference. You will in all probability have turned it on for yourself a while ago.

They’ve also added Google Plus integration. You can now share screenshots with people in your circles. When I first read about this I thought for a moment that a current view could be shared between people – which would have been a massive boon for collaborating on mapping projects, but the screenshot news isn’t half as exciting. If that ever gets introduced then my interest in Google Plus will be piqued.  That’s not to say I don’t like Google Plus – it’s just that I don’t use it much. If Mark Zuckerberg had done something else with his life, I’d probably use it a lot.

So all in all a great cosmetic improvement for a minor point release, with some nice under the bonnet changes – definitely worth upgrading, though it is still in the beta phase.

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