Google Earth Beta 4 micro-review

by Robert Daeley

As reported all over creation, Google Earth recently launched a new beta version, which I had the opportunity to download and try out. Overall, an okay experience, mostly subtle improvements over the latest stable release.

They're in the middle of UI changes, though, and removed at least one keyboard shortcut (to the paths/ruler palette) that I depend on constantly whilst plotting bicycling training routes. Unfortunately, due to the type of app Google Earth is, it isn't as easy as editing nib files, and none of my poking and prodding of various files under the app bundle's resources produced a way to re-add it.

I've submitted a feature request asking they put the shortcuts back in, or better yet, give us the ability to customize our own.

And yes, this is an example of one reason why open source is often better. ;) To their credit, however, Google has seemed to be responsive to requests in the past. "Do no evil" apparently also covers "Paying attention."

Any readers have unique or cool uses for Google Earth?


2006-06-25 08:38:45
Awesome idea about using it for bicycling training routes. I recently just bought a new Fuji Cross-Comp and have been messing around mostly on Google Maps to plot out routes, which doesn't always work out so well. (Kinda sucks when you find out there's mile or two stretch where you're on a busy road with no where to ride except the road or the grass.)

The ability to add plugins for these sorts of things and share saved routes of various type with other users would be a sweet addition that would continue to make products like Google Earth even more pervasive. Who would have ever thought Google Earth could potentially be used for athletic purposes?