Google Earth Now Lets You Design Virtual Tours, Create Map-Based Stories

Google Earth is adding new tools that allow anyone to create maps and stories on the platform. The company on Wednesday announced the new features that it said will enable users to “easily create and share your discoveries and stories about our world with friends, students or coworkers”. While the tools are only available on the Google Earth website for now (and not on the Android or iOS apps), the stories themselves will still be available for viewing on the go, including on phones, tablets and laptops.

Using the new creation tools in Google Earth, users can draw their own placemarks, lines and shapes, then attach their own custom text, images and videos to these locations. They can also organize their story into a narrative and collaborate with others to create the experience before sharing it online. “By clicking the new ‘Present’ button, your audience will be able to fly from place to place in your custom-made Google Earth narrative”, said the company.

The new feature is an expansion of the ‘Voyager’ program that was originally launched two years ago as part of the company’s plans to “infuse the globe with stories from the world’s best storytellers”. It incorporated guided tours from top researchers, environmentalists and scientific organizations, including BBC Earth, Jane Goodall, Sesame Street and NASA.

Having retired Google+ earlier this year following massive data breaches affecting millions of users, Google has been on a quest to add ‘social’ features to many of its established apps and services in recent times. One such example is the company’s recent announcement about an upcoming Google Maps feature that is said to help users discover new places with help from top ‘Local Guides’ in several cities, including Delhi. The new Google Earth feature seems to be another step in that direction.

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