Just a few days before Earth Day, which falls on April 22 this year, Google reintroduced Google Earth for Chrome and Android. The exclusively redesigned extension can now run directly from Chrome, without having to download a separate piece of software. Earth was first released 15 years ago in June 2001 as a free app with limited functionality, and as a paid version, Earth Pro, which is now accessible for free.

New features, guided tours, and 3D details

The redesigned Earth exploration map for Google has some new features that were not found in the original version of the #Mapping Service. With the new Voyager feature, Google takes us on a journey to explore the world through interactive guided tours that were created by storytellers, such as scientists and non-profit organizations.

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Through collections such as “Museums Around the World," Google will explore 28 museums all around the world in Street View. Each knowledge card presents information in digestible chunks, and links to find more information about the places on Google Arts & Culture.

In addition to the 2D aerial imagery, Google Earth now has 3D images of the Earth’s terrain, buildings, and other places of interests. To present more fresh content in the collections, Google is partnering with content providers such as Sesame Street, artists, and other content providers such as BBC Worldwide. Google Earth now even has the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button represented by an icon of a die, positioned just below the Voyager icon. Clicking on it will take us to a random location on the planet. The stunning detailed 3D view enriches the experience by presenting a location’s beauty and richness in a way that is far more interesting than the flat and blurry 2D view.

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Users can also send out "postcards" through their social media accounts from any location with the Share Link feature.

Google Earth Pro and free

This redesigned version comes just after the service began using images obtained directly from NASA satellites to compile a better and sharper view of places on the planet. A few years ago, the tech giant decided to stop charging users of its Google Earth Pro, which used to cost hundreds of dollars. The company’s mapping innovation includes other services, such as Google Sky, Google Maps, and Google Earth Virtual Reality (VR) that is a Chrome experience of Earth in #virtual reality, which can be enjoyed with Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.