Google Earth adds views of outer space on mobile

The feature was only previously available on the Pro desktop app and the web.

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Mariella Moon
January 29, 2020 11:33 PM
In this article: gear, google, Google Earth, mobile
Google Earth
Google Earth

When you zoom out all the way on Google Earth for the web and Pro on desktop, you get a view of our planet with stars in the background. Unfortunately, that starry background is replaced with plain black when you use the program on mobile -- until now, that is. The tech giant has updated the Google Earth app with the ability to display the starry universe on phones and tablets, thanks to the fact that mobile devices are now more powerful than ever.

You'll see images of the Milky Way as you rotate the globe, all captured by the European Southern Observatory. Since you're looking at our planet from the outside, you'll be able to see the stars as they'd appear to someone that's 30,000 miles above the planet. And that sounds awesome if you ever wanted to play space explorer as an adult.

Google says adding stars to Earth is part of its efforts to make the program look as realistic as possible, which is why it also previously added animated clouds to show weather patterns around the world. "Realism is important to us," program software engineer Jonathan Cohen wrote. "[W]e want people using Google Earth to see our planet in context with our place in the universe."

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Google Earth adds views of outer space on mobile