Google Earth goes underwater

New version includes detailed map of ocean floors together with videos and images of marine life

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By  Vineetha Menon Published  February 3, 2009

Explore the mysteries of the sea with Google Earth’s latest upgrade – Google Ocean – that allows users to explore the world’s ocean and sea terrain in 3D.

The Google Earth 5, which includes 20 underwater content layers, is the result of efforts by renowned scientists, explorers and researchers.

Google Earth used to previously depict oceans with shading to indicate depth, but with the new version, users can dive below the surface and explore thousands of data points such as videos and images of ocean life, details of the best surfing locations, logs of real ocean expeditions and more.

“We on the Google Earth team had been working hard to build a rich 3D map of the world, but we had largely ignored the oceans - two thirds of the planet,” said John Hanke, director of Google Earth and Maps.

It's also expected to serve as an important research tool for environmental degradation. "In discussions about climate change, the world's oceans are often overlooked despite being an integral part of the issue...Furthermore, biodiversity loss in our oceans in the next 20-30 years will be roughly equivalent to losing an entire Amazon rainforest, but this goes unnoticed because we can't see it. This is why today's launch of Google Earth 5.0 is so important - it gives us an opportunity to change everyone's perspective," added Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

Tying in with the launch, the team has announced other new Google Earth features such as Historical Imagery that allows you to move back and forth in time to reveal imagery from decades past and a Touring feature, which makes it easy for users to record and share narratives of travels.

Take a dive yourself and download the latest Google Earth here.

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