[UPDATE 2104 EDT: Google has decided to remove this update temporarily. They have told me they will have a new version posted "soon". But, they will now go back to the previous - 4.2.0180 version until the problems are resolved. If you got it while it was still available, you can play with the couple of new features. But, there are some problems with it they want to resolve.]
Google has quietly pushed out a new version of Google Earth – 4.2.0196(download the latest version here). This release mostly addresses some bugs from the first release of 4.2 on August 22nd (if you haven’t already read about 4.2’s new features – go here). But, there is one important new feature in today’s release: the night sky mode now supports the SpaceNavigator! This means you can fly your way around the astrophotography with the handy SpaceNavigator (a 3D mouse you can buy which also works quite well in the normal mode of Google Earth).
A couple of things I’ve found which are fixed:
- Spherical PhotoOverlays – there was a bug in the earlier release with spherical photooverlays. If you turned your view too far to the right or left, the image would flip. That has been fixed with this new release. A great example is this view inside a helicopter. Try it with the new version of GE 4.2.0196.
- Better Sky Movement – when you move between different placemarks in Sky, the flying between points is smoother.
I have found a couple of problems with the new release: the 3D Enterprise I wrote about earlier today, for some reason doesn’t work with the new release (it uses GroundOverlay). Also, two of the axes with the SpaceNavigator are backwards in Sky. You need to use the 3DConnexion control panel to reverse “Pan Up/Down” and “Spin” while in the Sky mode. Then it will work, but you’ll have to change it back when you go back to Earth mode. I’ve already reported these to Google.