In November 2016, Google Earth VR launched, allowing people who own the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets a way to view Google’s mapping service in a new and immersive way. This week, Google Earth VR got a small but still significant update, which added Street View imagery from 85 countries to the service.
AR vs VR: what’s the difference?
Basically, if you own the Vive or Rift, you can go to the Google Earth VR app and then fly down to as close to your chosen spot on the planet as you can. If that spot has Street View imagery, you should see a globe with that location via a preview lens. Clicking on that spot with your controller should let you see a full 360 degree view of that location from the ground.
Obviously, this update is a very cool one for Vive and Rift owners, as they can now see a number of locations on the planet as if they were standing at those places. It could serve as a way for folks to get a preview of their next vacation, or if they simply want to imagine they are at New York City, London, Paris or Sydney in the comfort of their home. The actual photos are a mix from Google’s own Street View team combined with user-submitted photos from around the world.