Google Earth just became one of the internet’s premier procrastination enablers (if it wasn’t already). Google is pushing out a highly anticipated update this week, helping everyone explore the world from their computer or smartphone.
Google Earth has always been a good way to explore the world, using satellite images, maps, and 3D representations to bring the globe to you (no airlines required). They stepped it up even further with Google Earth VR, which let you fly around some of the world’s most famous destinations — again, no airline required.
But, a lot gets lost when you don’t really know much about what you’re flying over. That’s why this week’s update is so exciting — Google has created guided tours to complement all that gorgeous imagery, creating an educational experience.
And, this being Google, they didn’t cheap out. In the new Voyager feature, they have 50 tours at the outset, including Jane Goodall talking you through Tanzania’s Gombe National Park and Lola of Sesame Street‘s Girl Muppets Around the World introducing you to ancient Mayan points of interest in Mexico. Or, you can just zoom in on someone’s home — This is Home introduces traditional dwellings found all over the globe.
Sounds fun, right? Well, we haven’t even gotten to the bane of the managerial class yet. Google is repurposing the old “I’m feeling lucky” button, and you’re going to sink so many hours into it. Google has chosen 20,000 spots from all over the world, carefully curated to make you open up a tab for Priceline. Hitting the button will whisk you away to one of them, where you can check out information cards and more photos introducing you to your random virtual destination.
Google Earth VR is getting an update, too, with the addition of search and compatibility with the Oculus Rift VR headset. The update and all the new features are live now.