Google Earth 4.3 Beta Released

There’s a new beta version of Google Earth available which features revamped navigation control and some slick new layers like 3-D photo-realistic buildings in major cities and time-lapse views of sunsets and sunrises. Please, read GEB’s first impressions for screenshots and see the GEB video demonstration.

Here are some more observations about GE 4.3, including other new features:

  • Streaming indicator - the old horizontal streaming indicator which showed the progress of images loading for the current view has been replaced with a small circular streaming “clock”-like indicator.
  • Imagery dates - When you move your mouse over imagery, Google will show the dates in the lower right - if dates are available. Google says the dates may only be approximate.
  • Mac Flash Support - and Bug - Google has added a frequently requested capability to 4.3 to also support Flash applications inside placemarks, as was done for Windows in 4.2. This means you can now view YouTube videos, and other flash apps on the Mac as well.
  • Mac Atmosphere - The new atmosphere on the Mac is too bright, and obscures the view of the Earth. The transparency/brightness needs to be turned down so it looks like the Windows version when viewed on the same screen.
  • The performance in 4.3 is much better than with 4.2. However, some people have reported things are slower. I think this has to do with the increase in the number of 3D buildings, or it may be graphics driver issues. Ver 4.3 is going to be faster in all cases for 3D buildings with comparable numbers of buildings.
  • Placemarks - This release of Google Earth appears to have a complete re-write of the placemark description bubbles.
  • Flight Simulator - The Flight Simulator is no longer an easy thing. It is now enabled as soon as you install 4.3. Please, look under the Tools menu for “Enter Flight Simulator…“.

Over all, I think this release has some very nice new features. Some users say that there are several things they would still like to see added in a future version of Google Earth, but the one they want the most is: a new user interface for the layers (the current interface makes it too hard to find and use good layers).

Source: Google Earth Blog

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