Google Earth spies on the world

Aug 31, 2009
Tech

Google is already spying on you, so you might as well take advantage of its satellites and download the free iPhone travel app Google Earth. The app reflects the desktop version: Select your location or tap anywhere on the floating globe to swoop in for a closer look on any country, city or street in […]

Google is already spying on you, so you might as well take advantage of its satellites and download the free iPhone travel app Google Earth.

The app reflects the desktop version: Select your location or tap anywhere on the floating globe to swoop in for a closer look on any country, city or street in the world.

But Google Earth is more than a fascinating view of our world. Type a destination into the search bar and it will flag recommended restaurants and hotels in the area (plus major tourist attractions with links to Wikipedia articles), making this a must-have for any world traveler. Narrow your search with phrases like “Coffee Shops in Prague” and watch as it hops over to the Czech Republic to display a dozen options for you to try, complete with addresses and telephone numbers.   

An added tilt function changes your viewing angle as you move your iPhone around—a definite plus when checking out landscapes—and about a third of Google Earth’s satellite images can be viewed in high resolution, according to the app’s description. This makes a big difference when you compare a street view of Paris to one in Cape Town, for example.

Here’s the only downside: Google Earth requires a constant Internet connection, making it less practical for those either packing an iPod Touch or who didn’t feel like splurging for one of AT&T’s international data packages that start around $24.99 per month. Even with a good Wi-Fi signal, images can take a minute to load and focus, but then again, the signal is coming from space and I can see my car. 

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