Google Earth 5 Beta Released

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Google has released a new version of Google Earth, its geographic information software. The new release is available for free download from Google's Web site.

Google Earth lets users explore the planet, viewing satellite imagery, checking out maps and terrains, viewing 3D building representations in urban areas, and checking photo galleries, multimedia content and more.

The new 5.0 release now features 3D bathymetry -- you can explore the ocean floor. Depending on the 3D capabilities of your machine, you can even see wave motion on the surface of the water when you tilt your view. Previously, Google Earth sported a 2D relief map of major ocean features, but with 3D ocean view, you'll actually see 3D terrain underwater. Environmental information about the ocean, including fishing and whale migration tracks have also been added.

Historical imagery is new; it enables you to "turn back the clock" to view historical satellite imagery on different locations.

Google Earth's capabilities extend beyond just the planet Earth, too -- you can now view Mars, using the same controls you'd use to navigate around Google Earth. The Mars maps include satellite imagery along with 3D terrain, high-resolution images, and a view of the tracks and locations visited by Mars landers.

System requirements call for Mac OS X 10.4 or later, 1GHz or faster processor, 256MB RAM, 400MB hard disk space, 3D-capable graphics with at least 16MB VRAM.

This story, "Google Earth 5 Beta Released" was originally published by Macworld.

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