The iPhone Google Earth application has had two layers since it was released last October: The Panoramio layer (which shows millions of photos around the world), and the Wikipedia layer (which shows Wikipedia article on places and things around the world). Now Google has added the Places layer: which is kind of a combination of information from Wikipedia, Google Earth Community, and Panoramio focused on describing places. The Places layer has both text and photos in the descriptions which makes it more interesting to view. Here are some screenshots showing the new Places icons and what a Places description looks like:
All three of the layers in the iPhone GE app (which also runs on iPod Touch) are part of the Geographic Web layer folder in the full Google Earth application. The iPhone GE itself hasn’t really changed much since its initial release. I’ve been hoping they would add more functionality from the full application such as more layers, the ability to load at least simple placemark KML files, and better integration with the iPhone Maps application. It may be too much to ask to get full vector layers such as the Borders or Roads layers since I imagine the iPhone GE is already pushing limits in terms of graphics and memory on the iPhone. But, maybe the next generation iPhone/iPod Touch will be capable of more.