Google Earth shoots for the stars

Presenting its users with spectacular views of shining stars, city streets and sunsets, the new features of Google Earth 4.3 transform it into something greater. The name “Google Earth” no longer adequately describes this program; it should be more accurately renamed Google Galaxy.

With a free download, Google Earth 4.3 allows its users to zoom in on places across the world and view satellite images of several of these locations. When looking at a large city, pictures pop up that can be clicked on to learn more information about businesses, hotels, and tourist attractions.

With the simple click of a button, Google Earth changes into its sky mode, and users can explore various star galaxies. The product not only reaches the stars in terms of performance, but in a more literal sense of the phrase as well.

Unlike in previous versions of Google Earth, this edition can display satellite images from across the globe taken at any time. This not only allows users to witness colorful and magnificent sunrises and sunsets, but since it exhibits images in ranges of different degrees of lighting, making them seem more realistic and more interesting.

Another new edition to this program is Google Streetview, which is fully incorporated into Google Earth 4.3 Introduced in the fall of 2007 with five different cities, now Streetview displays pictures from over 40 cities.

Google Earth 4.3 is valued for more than the stunning images it transfers to your computer, but also for its usefulness. It helps users find hotels and restaurants and also gives directions and maps for those who are planning to travel.

Although new users may experience difficulty when first operating the new version of Google Earth, in time they will be able to swiftly maneuver from one continent to the next, between day and night, as well as through the program’s other settings. The updated navigation tools are straightforward.

This download also offers many tutorials to familiarize users with its capabilities, but still, operating the product may be frustrating. Even though Google Earth 4.3 has faster rendering speeds, “flying” to a specific location still takes several seconds. After spending time zooming in on a destination, the blurry image displayed across a computer screen sometimes comes as a great disappointment.

Rose Conry, staff writer