"Google Earth is a 3D application, but we realised that a lot of our users never quite got the hang of using the tilt feature to navigate around 3D features like mountains and buildings," product manager Peter Birch wrote in a blog posting.
"Not only that, but even for expert users, if you tried to get down to the ground and navigate at street level, navigation was cumbersome and confusing."
Among the new navigation tools in Google Earth 4.3 is a modified zooming feature. When users zoom in from a full-Earth view, the 3D map view will zoom in normally.
As the view zooms closer to the ground, however, the perspective tilts in a manner that Birch likens to that of a person parachuting to the ground.
When the zoom level reaches ground, the user is surrounded by the 3D landscape in a view similar to that of a 3D game.
Google has also added a Street View feature to the Earth application. The controversial application allows users to navigate by way of actual street photos. Google first introduced the feature in its online Maps application last year.
Google Earth 4.3 will also sport improved lighting for its 3D view, as well as better rendering software designed to help the landscapes load faster.
Other updates include an image acquisition feature which lists the date when landscape images were taken, as well as an improved language pack that adds a further 12 translations.
Google Earth 4.3 offers better navigation
By Shaun Nichols on Apr 18, 2008 7:15AM
Google has updated its Google Earth mapping application, offering a 3D navigation system which the company claims is smoother and more natural for users..
Got a news tip for our journalists? Share it with us anonymously here.