Google has released a Virtual Reality version of Google Earth for HTC Vive headset users. The Google Earth VR version will let users explore global landmarks like Amazon River, Manhattan skyline, Grand Canyon, Swiss Alps, and more in a virtual reality mode. Google has reconstructed these in a VR style for users.
Google Earth VR was released on Steam on November 16, and according to the description a user will able to “fly over a city, stand at the top of the highest peaks, and even soar into space.” The Earth VR has cinematic tours and hand-picked destinations and it can be downloaded from the Steam Store for free. Just like Google’s Tilt Brush, Earth VR will launch first on the HTC Vive headset although an update could be on the way across other platforms by 2017.
Options on Google Earth VR include walking in Tokyo,, walking near Eiffel Tower in addition to the ones mentioned above. According to The Verge, “Google Earth VR has been in development for some time.” It points out that unlike Street View which is 360-degree photosphere, on Google Earth VR you can actually fly around these reconstructed landmarks. Just like other virtual reality experience you’ll feel like you are a part of the experience when in Google Earth VR.
It’s interesting that Google is bringing this experience to the HTC Vive VR headset first. Google has already announced its own VR platform with DayDream VR and the new Pixel smartphones are the first DayDream ready headsets. Google also announced its first DayDream View VR headset along with the Pixel phones in October.
Google’s DayDream VR headset is actually made from fabric and also comes with its own Bluetooth controller. Google says all YouTube content can be viewed in the Daydream View, even non-360 videos and it plans to add Google Play Movies, Google Street View tours to this list soon.