Google Earth is making significant product changes by adding content creation tools that allow anyone to create maps and stories for the platform. This feature is an extension of the Voyager program launched in 2017, which introduced guided tours of top storytellers, scientists and non-profit organizations like BBC Earth, Jane Goodall, Sesame Street and NASA.
The tour combines text and images, including Street View and 360-degree video, so viewers can immerse themselves in habitats around the world.
New content creation tools offer similar features, including the ability to choose between Street View photos and a 3D view of the Earth when telling the story. You can add placemarks, lines, shapes, photos, and videos, write text in the rich text editor, and create slide title screens for full-screen presentations.
The resulting story can consist of stories that can be moved to different places every time the user views the presentation. The tool also supports collaboration and allows you to share your final article with others through Google Drive integration. This allows, for example, a group of educators to create tours that complement their lesson plans.
Early adopters used these production tools to create maps showing threatened rivers, Antarctic expeditions, Italian Renaissance architectural 3D tours, and more. Educational non-profit organizations used this feature to showcase stop letters made in the youth novel Walk Two Moons.
Here’s a clear use case, as teaching tools bring lessons to life and let teachers in build stories as they give students an enlarged look at where they’re going. However, some may choose to use tools of a more personal nature, such as travel inspiration or bucket list creation.
When Google launched the Voyager platform in 2017, it has modernized Google Earth for modern web browsers and can now run as a web app in Chrome.
All of this relates to Google’s bigger push for Chromebooks, which compete with Apple and Microsoft in the classroom.
The battle is also quite hot. Apple’s marketing SVP Phil Schiller blamed the Google Chromebook this week. But inexpensive Chromebooks have won so far. According to CNBC, 60% of all laptops and tablets purchased for US K-12 classrooms are Chromebooks and only 18% are Apple products.
Google Earth Builder, which is linked to Google Drive, has added another competitive advantage for our products. However, it still remains whether the teacher will actually adopt the tool on a large scale. Many professionally produced tours are already available through Voyager. It’s also easy to produce, but it takes a lot of time to find the right photos and videos, add places, and write text.
One concern is that by making production tools available to the crowd, Google Earth can invite spam and other inappropriate content to be displayed on platforms that children often use in their classrooms. Google said it has built an automated detection system to help find and remove policy violation content including machine learning models.
It also allows users to display such content for manual review reviews and actions. In addition, user attributes are prominently displayed in the content, so anyone can see the author information. It can be seen that the user has prohibited the creation of additional content due to repeated violations.
Google can use the creation tool in the Google Earth web app and view the project on mobile and tablet devices using the Google Earth mobile app for iOS and Android, Google said.