Google just launched a major update for Google Earth. The program now offers one seamless image of the globe instead of a patchwork of separate images that made the Earth look a bit like a quilt in earlier versions. Google has changed the way it renders the imagery in Google Earth to ensure that the Earth now appears as one smooth image, similar to what Microsoft has been doing with Bing Maps for a while now.

As the images in Google Earth were obviously taken at different dates, different times and under different lighting and weather conditions, the mosaic-like look of the planet in Google Earth was generally accepted to be somewhat inevitable. Google doesn't explain how it renders these new images, but chances are it's quite similar to Microsoft's approach, which the company detailed here.

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This imagery update is clearly the most important change, though it's worth noting that users earlier version of Google Earth will see the new images as well. Google, however, also added some Google+ functionality to the software as well. This integration is still a bit limited, though, and really only allows you to share screenshots from Google Earth on Google+.

In addition, the Google Earth team has also made some enhancements to the search functionality of the app by adding autocomplete and brining biking, transit and walking directions to the app.

 

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