Google Earth for the iPhone Released!

At long last, Google is releasing Google Earth for the iPhone (and iTouch) tonight (Sunday)! I’ve been expecting this to happen for months. Especially after I saw another Google Earth-like application on the iPhone back in May. Apparently some folks in Australia were first to downloaded Google Earth for the iPhone. CNET has an initial review – and it looks fantastic. I quickly managed to download it – see my updated review below (this app is awesome!). You can click here to download GE for the iPhone from the iTunes app store – it’s free of course. Or you can search the app store from your iPhone. Here is Google’s announcement video which shows the app in action:


And, here is a screenshot (form CNET):
Google Earth on the iPhone

I’ve had a while now to play with GE for the iPhone. Here is my initial review (quick summary: I’m really impressed!):

  1. Looks just like Google Earth when it first comes up. Zooming in with the usual touch motion on the iPhone works just like expected. And, at least on my home WIFI, the speed loading imagery is quite good. Much closer to the normal GE than I expected. In fact, I estimate on my non-3G iPhone I’m getting about 5-7 frames per second update rates zoomed out, and over 10 fps zoomed in closer. Quite good! You definitely feel like you’re using Google Earth.

  2. If you enable “Autotilt” by selecting the preference window (the “i” icon in the lower right) when you lift up your phone vertically the horizon will tilt into view. If you go to somewhere with mountains or other terrain you’ll see it in 3D just like in the normal GE.

  3. Google includes the Panoramio and Wikipedia layers under the “Geographic Web” by default. Click on a blue photo icon when you see one, and it will load the Panoramio photo for that location. hit the “Earth” button at the top of the photo to return back to GE. If you don’t want the icons, or want to get a little speed increase, then turn these off in the preference window.

  4. You also have layers for borders and labels (city names, country names, etc.) which you can also turn off if you don’t need them.

  5. AMAZING – they even support off-line mode just like the desktop GE! If you have no connection, GE will prompt you and let you “continue without network” and will work off your cache. So, if you’ve previously viewed places, you can go back there and still see them with no Internet connection! To test this, you can just put your iPhone in “Airplane” mode (to turn off wireless connections) and then re-start the iPhone GE application.

  6. Tilt your iPhone horizontally for a wider view.

  7. The upper left “magnifying glass” let’s you do a search. This works just like with the normal GE and let’s you search for places, airport codes, or you can enter lat/long coordinates. I’m very pleased with how it zooms just like the normal GE to each location.

  8. The lower left icon is the “locate me” button which will fly you to your current location (using the iPhone location feature).

  9. With this release, there are just the 4 layers mentioned above. You also can not load up other KML files or save your own placemarks at this point. But, I’m sure other features will come in future releases.

  10. The “Help” window is found in the preferences window (or here on the web) and gives tips on the interface. If you use two fingers you can do things like twist your view, tilt the horizon (by dragging two fingers up/down), if you double-tap two fingers you zoom out, double-tap one finger zooms in. The finger interfaces are very intuitive.

Overall I’m very impressed with Google Earth for the iPhone. I’m thrilled I’ll be able to take it with me wherever I go. However, I’m sure performance will be a much slower when I’m on the Edge network instead of with a WIFI connection. All you GE fans with an iPhone – go out there and download it now!
[UPDATE: Here is Google’s announcement of GE for the iPhone.]

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was released. He worked in 3D graphics for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank left in 2009 to circumnavigate the earth by sailboat as part of the Tahina Expedition.



Comments

  1. George Dyke says:

    I’ve got it installed here in Sydney, Australia. Looking great so far…

  2. You mention Panoramio, Wikipedia, borders and labels.. what about the other layers?
    What about kml support?
    Is it possible that this will run on the current Android hardware?

  3. I downloaded the app an hour or 2 ago and had a play around. The controls are exceptional, far superior than the controls for Earthscape. Although at the moment, there are hardly any features, which makes sense as just getting it to work on the iPhone would have been a challenge. Once it supports more features, I will be using this for real purposes other than showing off to mates that I have GE on my iPhone.

  4. Just installed it, fantastic program, looks like PC version. Looking forward to more features being added.

  5. This new application really is great. It took them sometime to perfect this pplication on the iphone. I wonder how it does on the new Google phone.

  6. Wow…and on the very day that Google opens the Android Market to developers. Seems kinda like a slap in the face to those trying to support Android and the new T-Mobile G1. I know there are many more people using the iPhone right now, but if they couldn’t get this out for Android first to try and boost the platform, at least they could try to keep up with the iPhone support. Disappointing.

  7. Very nice, I agree with the previous comments but it is crashing consistently after a few minutes of tilted viewing. Is there a requirement on how much available space you need on your Iphone?

  8. This looks great. Amazing.

  9. Now I know why the Google Earth plugin for Mac is taking so long…

  10. I not available en Apple Store Mexico.
    “The item you’ve requested is not currently available in the Mexican Store.” :(

  11. When will be launch in indonesia? I’m waiting

  12. Please, please, when will it launch in Hong Kong?
    while we’re at it, any idea why the Google Mobile App never launched in HK either?

  13. Bruno Gomes França says:

    I’d like to know WHEN Google Earth will be available on the argentine or brazilian AppStore?
    Ty!

  14. Hello
    My name is Vinnie.
    I NEED YOUR HELP PLEASE!
    I want to download the Google earth, and i cant i tryed so many things, i am crazy for this application!!
    Because i am not in Us, iTunes dont give me to download it.So pritty i felt like racism…
    Why because i am leaving in Israel, and because security reason i can’t download it from my Israelys apple store.So..if You are upthere can can You help me please!!!!
    If Yes!!
    Can You send me this application please, if you can, so let me know i will tell You where to go in your library and what i need.
    Please do for me this favour, please.
    So pitty that i cant get it,so pitty…
    vinnie.venkov@gmail.com
    Vinnie Venkov

  15. Tonnywilliams87 says:

    Google Earth for the iPhone is a pretty well rounded application including geo-tagged photos and wikipedia article integration, a cool tilt your phone to change the 3D view interface called auto-tilt, and uses the same imagery as the desktop application. In quick testing we found Google Earth to be a little slower than Earthscape but a little more finished feeling.
    Previously the only application offered by Google for the iPhone was their Google Mobile App. This application was little more than a dedicated search engine front end.
    —————————-
    Tonnywilliams
    online Marketing

  16. Just installed it, fantastic program, looks like PC version. Looking forward to more features being added.

  17. I not available en Apple Store Mexico.
    “The item you’ve requested is not currently available in the Mexican Store.” :(

  18. Google Maps (not earth) on the iPhone now supports KML files!
    When you visit google.com on your iPhone/iPod-touch there is a link towards the ‘Favorites Places on Google Maps’ section of Google Maps. Several favorite places of celebrities are listed over here.
    When you select a group of placemarks it opens up in the native Google Mapps application.
    I’ve tried to use one of my own KML files and it works too!
    On your iPhone just open up safari and type in “maps:klmurlhere” For example: maps:bit.ly/4TWYf

  19. Aşk Büyüsü says:

    Google Earth for the iPhone is a pretty well rounded application including geo-tagged photos and wikipedia article integration, a cool tilt your phone to change the 3D view interface called auto-tilt, and uses the same imagery as the desktop application. In quick testing we found Google Earth to be a little slower than Earthscape but a little more finished feeling.
    Previously the only application offered by Google for the iPhone was their Google Mobile App. This application was little more than a dedicated search engine front end.

  20. “The item you’ve requested is not currently available in the Mexican Store.” :(
    telefon dineleme

  21. Why Google Earth for iPhone is not available in Hong Kong?
    What makes the difference for iPhone in Hong Kong and in US? I do pay for the iPhone but cannot enjoy Google Earth for iPhone, Why???
    …Andrew

  22. “The item you’ve requested is not currently available in the Mexican Store.” :(

  23. Just installed it, fantastic program, looks like PC version. Looking forward to more features being added.

  24. Google Earth for the iPhone is a pretty well rounded application including geo-tagged photos and wikipedia article integration, a cool tilt your phone to change the 3D view interface called auto-tilt, and uses the same imagery as the desktop application. In quick testing we found Google Earth to be a little slower than Earthscape but a little more finished feeling.
    Previously the only application offered by Google for the iPhone was their Google Mobile App. This application was little more than a dedicated search engine front end.

  25. great app

  26. Thanks for admin wonderfull web site for information

  27. I am a pilot and I need to know the altitude of the places I look up and navigate to. This little app would be perfect if you could make it like the full computer version, and show the altitude/elevation of the place I’m looking instead of how high I’m looking at it from. Also the ability to drop a pin like google maps would seal the deal on this app……….P L E A S E all pilots among other technical and engineering fields need this………..I would even pay money for this app

  28. Google Earth for the iPhone is a pretty well rounded application including geo-tagged photos and wikipedia article integration, a cool tilt your phone to change the 3D view interface called auto-tilt, and uses the same imagery as the desktop application. In quick testing we found Google Earth to be a little slower than Earthscape but a little more finished feeling.
    Previously the only application offered by Google for the iPhone was their Google Mobile App. This application was little more than a dedicated search engine front end……

  29. Great app. Thanks.

  30. Just installed it, great program, looks like PC version. Looking forward to more features being added.

  31. Sudaca malo says:

    Right, this post is from October 2008. It’s mid August 2012, almost 4 years later and guess what.
    Still no GE on the applestore in Argentina.
    Can anyone knows the reason behind this “filter”?

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