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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

August 9, 2012 at 12:01 AM

Google launches Google Earth 3-D for Seattle

GoogleEarth.JPG

Google announced that it has added Seattle and Denver to its list of cities that can be displayed with 3-D detail in the Google Earth app on the latest Android and iOS devices.

It’s not too radically different from what was displayed before — only before, some buildings in Google Earth’s zoomed-in metro-area maps were 3-D representations and some were 2-D.

The newest iteration “uses new imagery rendering and computer vision techniques that enable the automatic 3-D creation of not just individual buildings, but entire metro areas,” according to spokeswoman for Google.

The 3-D technology works only on the latest Android and Apple mobile devices, such as the Google Nexus 7, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, the iPad 2, the new iPad and the iPhone 4S. Google Earth for desktops does not yet support the 3-D technology.

There’s also a feature called “tour guide” — a tab that the user slides up from the bottom of the screen, showing a strip of images with points of interest close to where the user is looking. Clicking on the image will send the user to that locale with, for some locations, a 30-second fly-around tour and information about the site.

Seattle and Denver join a list of about a dozen other cities that are part of Google Earth 3-D, including Boston, San Francisco/Bay Area and Rome.

I haven’t had a chance to explore Google Earth 3-D, but those of you who plan to, tell me: Is this capability much different than what Bing Maps Bird’s Eye view (photo below), which works on desktops and mobile devices, offers?

BingBirdsEye2.JPG

(Top image of Google Earth 3-D with tour guide feature from Google. Bottom image is screenshot of Bing Maps’ Bird’s Eye view )

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