News Roundup: GE 4.1 Stuff, Plotting a Trail, Business Reviews, More Second Earth

  • GE 4.1 Stuff – The Google Earth 4.1 beta has been out for more than a month. There are a couple little features I haven’t mentioned. First, they fixed a bug which prevented you from looking straight up in Google Earth. And, when using the SpaceNavigator you can look up at a 3D Building and when you let go the view stays looking up (pre-4.1 would pop the view back to the horizon). In addition, during time animation, the background star field animates according to the passage of time (see a post about this at Barnabu’s site). There is an annoying bug in 4.1 which prevents the compass in the upper right from automatically disappearing like it is supposed to. There are also a number of subtle rendering bugs which are annoying. I hope a new beta will come out soon.

  • Plotting a Trail – Googler John Gardiner posts about his hobby of helping plan trails. He uses topo map overlays, a GPS track and placemarks to help communicate a planned trail. See an example trail near South Yuba River in Northern California.

  • Business Reviews – Google has added a new feature to Google Maps which lets you review and rate a business you find in a map search. Maps already showed ratings and reviews from other web sites, but it also now allows you to give your own reviews and ratings. Simply search for a business and choose “More Info”. Then choose “Write a review”. You have to be logged in to a Google account. Very simple and straight-forward. A couple of suggestions I have: Allow folks to just give it a rating without writing a review, and allow people to use anonymous as a reviewer name (but, limit them to one review per establishment).

  • More Second Earth – Avi Bar-Ze’ev, former Keyhole developer of the application which became Google Earth, shares his thoughts about the recent article by MIT Technology Review called Second Earth. Avi goes into depth about the possibilities / impossibilities of Google Earth and Second Life being combined as a mashup. Definitely a worthy read if you liked the Second Earth article. Wade Roush (author of the Second Earth article) even commented he really liked Avi’s article.

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.

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