[Update 15-Sep 1025 ET: Several new items added in blue. Also, even newer version to fix some problems.]
A new version of the Google Earth 4 Beta is out! If you go to the Google Earth download page you can download GE 4 and get the latest version of GE 4 Beta (4.0.2091 for Windows, and 4.0.2093 for the Mac). File size is actually a little smaller at 14 MBytes. (NOTE: doing a “Check for Update” in the application will NOT get you the new version – you have to download from Google as if it were your first time for GE 4) Here’s the scoop on the significant new features (since the last beta) from release notes and observation):
- As I predicted – Japanese Language Support – Google has made a big effort with this release to support Japanese content. Go to the “Options” under “General” to make your language selection. Now English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, and Japanese.
- As mentioned earlier today there are many new layers for Japan including 3D Buildings for many cities in Japan.
- Caching of 3D models (new Collada format) to improve performance
- Improved printing option for turn-by-turn driving directions with satellite imagery
- Support for flight controllers – word of caution – if you have a joystick or flight controller (yoke and rudders for flight simming) and you install this new version of GE, the Earth might be rotating around when you bring it up. You may need to adjust the trim on your controller or calibrate it to get it to stop. But, on the plus side you can now use your joystick/flight yoke to fly in Google Earth using the fly mode (Ctrl-G to turn on, Ctrl-T to go back to normal). Very cool!
- KML Time Tag and Interface – This is the feature many of us have been waiting for. It’s a feature allowing data to be time stamped and presented in GE according to some sort of interface.
As soon as I get more details on how it works I’ll let you know.Check out this review of the new time gadget feature and example.
- I imagine there are a lot of fixes from the last version not in this list.
- Undocumented new feature: when you load an image overlay you get a slick icon showing it’s loading an image.
- The desktop icon for GE is a little more refined
- GE Pro support HDTV movie recording
- Support for Web Mapping Service(WMS) image/data overlays (now in free version too) – Note: OgleEarth explains why this is important.
- Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) coordinate system grid overlay
There are also some developer notes for the new Time tags: <TimeStamp> & <TimeSpan>.
The new GE 4 Beta for Plus and Pro is also available. I’ll write a separate story reviewing the application after I play with it more. Getting this out now so folks can start playing!