Google today launched a major update of Google Earth for Android tablets and phones. This new version, which requires Android 2.1 for phones and Android 3.0 for tablets, is highly optimized for tablets. For Android phone users, there isn’t too much new here, but tablet users will now be able to see textured 3D buildings and get easier access to features like Places, Panoramio photos and Wikipedia articles.

The tablet-optimized interface looks nice, but the real star of this new version is obviously the addition of 3D buildings. Google has been stressing this feature of Google Earth on the desktop for quite a while now, by, for example, offering various cities in 3D already, launching a Building Maker that allows users to easily model buildings themselves and hosting a competition that encouraged communities in the U.S. to model their own town with Google’s tools.

Google Earth for iPad currently does not offer 3D buildings, but chances are that Google will bring this to iOS devices in the near future, too.

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