Google Earth

Google Earth 8.0.2.2334

The world in 3D on your Android device

Google Earth is a monster of a program. Now you can take it with you wherever you go in this version of Google Earth for Android. View full description

PROS

  • Makes a good first impression
  • Saves to SD
  • Choice of layers

CONS

  • Look around feature hard to manage
  • Navigation sticky at times
  • Close up graphics poor

Good
7

Google Earth is a monster of a program. Now you can take it with you wherever you go in this version of Google Earth for Android.

The Good

Google Earth makes a great first impression. The program is controlled completely from the touchscreen, so users with larger screens are in luck. Tap to zoom in, pinch to zoom out, and use two fingers to rotate and tilt. It couldn't be simpler. There's almost nowhere on the globe that you can't access with Google Earth, so swipe and zoom until you've surveyed the whole planet. There's also a search option for more direct access.

You'll also find more features that will take your Google Earth experience to another level. My Location will take you to where you are using the app, while under the Layers option you'll be able to enable and disable secondary sources of information, like Wikipedia and photos. Under Google Earth's settings, you'll be able to specify more technical details, like whether or not to use your phone's hardware sensors for navigation and the ability to limit the cache, so Google Earth doesn't suck up your resources.

The Bad

Unfortunately, Google Earth just doesn't follow up on its excellent first impression. Although the scale of the app is awesome - in the most literal sense - it doesn't measure up in terms of usability. Navigation can be sticky, especially when the Look Around feature is enabled, and close-up graphics aren't crisp. The 3D feature for viewing famous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and Taj Mahal doesn't always work, and when it does there are often graphics issues when zoomed in.

The Layers feature is also wanting. Although Google Earth offers three Layers - which you can enable and disable at will - they just don't work well with the interface becomes unusably crowded with indistinct and fiddly icons.

These usability problems are disappointing. Google Earth is an amazing concept and works fantastically on other devices. Unfortunately, Android isn't yet one of them.

Around the world in 80 seconds

Google Earth for Android is a great idea that unfortunately has some unforgivable usability issues on Android.

Improvements

People returning to Google Earth may notice some improvements since 8.0.0. The interface has been simplified, there are now better 3D images, clearer maps, and smoother transitions between layers - but still none of it is perfect. Support for Google Drive is also now included, allowing you to view KML and KMZ files.

Google Earth

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Google Earth 8.0.2.2334