Google Introduces Earth VR: See the World in Virtual Reality

Would you want to explore the world in virtual reality? You could see all the corners of the Earth without leaving your living room. Is that advancement, or does it cheapen real travel experiences? We’ll get to find out for ourselves, because Google Earth just took a huge leap forward with Google Earth VR.

It may be hard to believe, but Google Earth is 10 years old. Many have actually grown up exploring Google Earth, and can’t imagine a world without it. To others, Google Earth still seems like a brand-new resource. With a simple download, users can explore the world through a computer screen. But still, that screen is a barrier, even with over two billion downloads. Users couldn’t really pretend they were there. Enter: Virtual Reality.

According to a statement from Google, users will be able to “fly over a city, stand at the top of the highest peaks, and even soar into space” with Earth VR.

Currently. Google Earth VR is free on Steam, and according to Google’s statement, the program will be released on the HTC Vive first, with other platforms coming into the picture next year.

This isn’t a simple VR video that can be viewed in any old headset; even Google’s own Daydream headset can’t access this program. The reason it’s being downloaded via Steam, a popular gaming platform, is because it can only be run on dedicated VR headsets like the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift or Playstation VR.