APP WATCH: Google Earth optimised for Android 3.0

If Google wants to convince us to buy an Android Honeycomb tablet, it needs to get some apps out that make the new operating system a must-have. This optimised version of Google Earth will certainly help.

It's an update to something that has been around in one form or another since 2005 and has been available as a mobile app for some time too. But this all-new version takes advantage of the large screen and powerful processor offered on the new breed of tablets. It's 'like going from a regular movie theatre to IMAX', according to Google, but without the premium admission fee thankfully.

In the latest version, Google has added support for fully textured 3D buildings, so your tour through the streets of your favourite city will look more realistic than ever. There’s also a new action bar on top of the screen, allowing easier access to search, the option to 'fly to your location' and add layers such as Places, Panoramio photos, Wikipedia and 3D buildings.

That larger screen also allows content pop-ups appearing within Earth view, so you can see more information without switching back and forth between pages. So, for example, if you happened to be in Rome, you can wander around the 3D Colosseum while also browsing user photos from Panoramio.

The app is actually available for devices with Android 2.1 and above, but the new tablet design is only available for devices with Android 3.0 (Honeycomb). It's on the Android Market now.

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