Google Earth: Learn about a place

People  are usually amazed how quick and easy it is to put a place in Google Earth. Here you can see 10 easy steps used to learn about a place I read about today at GoogleSightseeing. They were writing about the extensive canal system across Germany – something I was not really familiar with. I was fascinated by their fourth entry which described the Magdeburg Water Bridge, which they said is the longest aqueduct in Europe.  Watch the short video below to see 10 steps I took to learn more about this place in GE:

You can watch the steps I took in the video above.

  1. First I found something interesting through a blog post at Alex posted some details in his post, but I find it more interesting to discover with Google Earth.
  2. So, I followed the link to view the location in Google Earth.
  3. The first thing I do in Google Earth is turn on the “Places“, “Photos” and “More” layers in Google Earth.
  4. The blue icons represent photos taken by many people around the world found at Panoramio (millions of photos are mapped into Google Earth).
  5. I quickly found a ground level photo which showed the bridge (there were even aerial photos in this case).
  6. Found a nice photo from the bridge itself as well.
  7. The white icon from “More” layer represents a Wikipedia story. Here you get a good description of the Magdeburg Water Bridge and a link to the full article with even more details.
  8. You can use the Google Earth navigation gadget in the upper right to turn and tilt your view to get other perspectives of any site.
  9. Zoom out a bit and turn on the Roads layer to get a handy map of the area.
  10. Zoom out even more and turn on the Borders and Labels layer (you might want to turn off the other layers at this point). This gives you a broader perspective. (Tip: you can also turn on the “View->Overview Map” – or hit “CTRL-M” to get a fast broad perspective map).

These are just some really basic steps I often take when trying to learn about a place. Another useful layer is the Google Earth Community layer, found inside of the “Gallery” layer. Although, for some popular places you may find dozens of placemarks by people who have posted about their favorite places – almost too much information. There are many other collections and tools (written about on this blog) for learning all kinds of things like weather, conditions of the environment, real estate prices, history, etc.

The world is a big place, and these techniques won’t work for every single place on the planet. But, if you try them out, you will probably be surprised just how much you can learn (and how many hours you can spend learning about places you’ve always wanted to visit).

via googlearthblog

Android Market for phones, with books and movies

Recently, we’ve been hard at work improving Android Market to give you new ways to find great applications and games, purchase books, and rent movies. Today, we’re releasing a new version of Android Market which makes all of these available on phones (Android 2.2 and higher).

In the U.S., you’ll be able to rent thousands of movies, starting at $1.99, right from Android Market on your phone. With the Videos app, available in Android Market, there’s no more waiting for downloads, syncing, or worrying about storage space. Simply sign into Android Market with your Google account, and you can rent movies from anywhere – the web, or your Android phone or tablet – and start watching instantly. You can also download movies to your device so they’re available for viewing when you don’t have an internet connection.

Also in the U.S., you can now purchase books from Android Market on your phone. Like movie rentals, books are linked to your Google account, so they’re instantly available across all of your devices – computer, phone, or tablet – without the need for wires or downloads.

You’ll be delighted to find we’ve overhauled Android Market to make it faster, easier, and more fun to discover great apps, movies, and books. We’ve created more space to feature some of the most interesting content of the week on the home page. We’ve added more top charts, with newer, more relevant items, and we’ve made it easy to swipe through these charts as you browse the store. We’ve also introduced new collections of great content, like staff picks and Editors’ Choice apps.


The new Android Market will be rolling out in the coming weeks to Android 2.2 and higher phones around the world. You don’t need to do anything – the update is automatic on supported phones. If you’re in the U.S., you’ll also be able to download the Videos app, rent movies, and buy books once you receive the new Android Market.

Voice Search Google Maps!

Without using your keyboard, you can now talk into Google Maps to look for places and get directions. If you’re using a Chrome web browser in the U.S. (English only for now), simply click the microphone icon and speak into your computer.


Click the mic and ask for a place to get started

Using voice search can make it easier to find hard-to-spell places (like Poughkeepsie or Liechtenstein) or simply get directions without typing (for example, say “Directions from Los Angeles to San Francisco”). Or if you’re interested in exploring the world through the Earth layer (using the plugin), you can just say where you want to go and fly over to that location directly within your browser!



Fly to places just by saying your query

If you didn’t already know, you can also use voice commands on, your Android device or on the Google app for your iPhone. Take a look at this video for desktop voice search to find out how voice actions can make your life easier.