iPhone App Review of Google Earth
As a preface, I must say I’ve been looking forward to Google coming out with an iPhone version of its popular Earth application for a long time now, and it finally came out on Sunday night. With the introduction of this app as well as Street View Maps in the 2.2 update, I’m wondering if Google is trying harder to conquer the iPhone than its own Android OS.
Google Earth’s iphone app is very similar to the desktop application of the same name; it still zooms in/out, starts off by showing a picture of the entire earth, and allows you to tilt the view so you can see the mountains and other landmarks 3D. The advantage of having it on the iPhone, however, is the opportunity to use multitouch to move around and adjust the view.
The user is given the opportunity to not only zoom in/out but rotate at the same time. If you cannot tell which direction you are facing, touch the compass icon in the top right corner and the maps will auto-adjust to face north.
It also includes an autotilt feature that utilizes the accelerometer to adjust the tilt, but you can still do it manually by simply taking two fingers and sliding down or up.
If you are new to a certain area and trying to find your way around, Google Earth will not only let you do a search for restaurants and other types of businesses but also include POI (Points of Interest) complete with links to a Wikipedia entry for each point. This can be helpful in determining what tourist destinations you would like to see when you’re travelling.
Google Earth is very similar to the satellite view on the regular Maps application, but with a few added twists. I did find that the application crashed on me a few times, but lessened significantly once I rebooted my iPhone.
All in all I had a good experience playing with Google Earth, and love to show it off as one of the strong selling points of the iPhone.