We’ve all wasted time on Google Earth from our boring old cubicles, dreaming of a future when we have the time and money to just go see the world, flying high above the castles of Germany or the sky scrapers of Dubai.
Maybe that’s just me. Either way, Google Earth is an amazing and fun time suck that deserves as much interface and experiential love as it can get.
While most of us need to experience Google Earth in plain old 2D on our computers or smartphones, a lucky few can now experience this virtual world using the Oculus Rift headset. While it was already available on HTC Vive, Earth’s new interface and Oculus compatibility opens the impressive experience up to an important new audience.
The process is simple, too: strap in and search for locations on a virtual keyboard. In seconds, you’re whisked away to your chosen location where you can then fly over, look around, zoom in, and continue your trip elsewhere at your leisure. Previously, you had to manually fly across the world instead of simply entering where you want to go, making the VR experience a lot more, shall we say, less annoying. There’s been similar technology for places like Mount Everest, but this is much more comprehensive.
As for whether or not this means you still have to leave your home to go see the world, get on a plane, taste the food, and hang with the locals, the answer is still a definitive yes. Until then, though, if you have access to an Oculus Rift (or Vive), you’ll want to check out this Google Earth Update as soon as you can strap yourself in. It’s not Mars but it’s plenty cool.
Watch a video of the tech in action below.