Despite not receiving updates in years, Google Earth VR (2016) on Steam is still one of the most useful and immersive ways to interact with the company’s 3D version of planet Earth, Street View and all. There are already a few apps on Quest that tap into Google’s free-to-use Maps APIs, but none that are doing it at the scale of EarthQuest.

Released on Quest in September 2023, EarthQuest promises “almost every identifiable city on earth is in realistic 3D,” going toe-to-toe with Google’s own Earth VR app on Steam by bringing 3D areas available on earth.google.com to the Quest-native app.

One of the most obvious comparisons on Quest right now is Wooorld (2022), which similarly incorporates all of the 2D and 3D data you’d find on Google Earth VR, albeit with a much more limited rendering area. Wooorld is similarly centered around a social component which lets you tour around with friends and strangers (also available on EarthQuest), but includes co-op GeoGuessr-style games which use Street View.

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Something you certainly won’t find on Google Earth VR or Wooorld is EarthQuest’s integration of ChatGPT, letting you interact with an AI companion on your virtual global trek while helping you navigate the user interface, ask questions about your surroundings, teleport you anywhere you want go, and speak to you in practically any language ChatGPT can digest and speak.

You can check out the full feature list over on EarthQuest’s website for more. You’ll also find EarthQuest on Quest for $5 via the Store, SideQuest, and the apk files direct from developer Boectrum.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • Keith

    You neglected to tell people in your article, you are required to bring your own API key for any of this to work. The API key you need from Google starts as a free trial but then continues as a paid subscription!
    The free “public” api key already in the app, is so overloaded it doesn’t load the map at all literally ever! Completely unusable app and shouldn’t Be showcased

    • Nevets

      Why, Keith, Keith, Keith! You do being us a particularly large, juicy bunch of sour grapes. The app works fine for me, though the dev warns that the public API can get overloaded. You can always follow his clear instructions and set up your own API key. It only costs a few bucks. It’s GEVR on standalone, something I never dreamed off at this time. Why are you so angry?

    • Unwisely Andre

      Hey, I’m the dev, the Public API only uses 2 keys from my cloud at the moment because Google has some temporary server-side billing issues, once that’s fixed EarthQuest will never have any terrain loading issues like you’ve experience ever again. However, if you want free unlimited usage with no usage rate limits you have the option to make your own free key with the semi-automated setup, everything happens inside the app and takes less than 3-4 minutes, this happens once.
      While making the key you start a free Google trial, but after the 3 months of free use you remain with the rest of the $300 free credits provided for free, which you’ll never be able to exceed by yourself, and even if you somehow magically do, you can reset every trial by just using a secondary account, have fun exploring Earth!

      • Dragon Marble

        It’s essentially a loophole. Those APIs are for developers, not consumers. Are you sure this does not violate Google’s terms?

        In any case, this is not the right way to build an app for regular consumers. If Wooorld doesn’t require getting API trial keys from Google to work, for example, why does your app need this?

  • Nevets

    The dev is a 15yo from Romania, and super responsive. He’s done a great job bringing the full GEVR to the limitations of standalone. A must buy

  • Unwisely Andre

    Hey viewers !
    I’m the dev, I just want to show my appreciation to the writer of this article, you are a big part of the reason VR is fun,
    EarthQuest is every Travel App that’s ever existed in Virtual Reality combined, designed carefully with passion for every use case – whether you want to immerse yourself like you’re actually there, pretend to be a real life super hero, or just visit thousands of realistically rendered places with your friends, EarthQuest does everything you can ever wish for and more ! and this time it’s not a cash grab like many of the apps on the store.
    Thank you for sharing the best possible travel experience to more people ! Marketing is tough for me so this helps a ton ☺️

    • SVRWok

      @unwiselyandre:disqus Hi there – this app looks super cool and cant wait to try it out when I get my quest3. Any chance of a SteamVR port? How good would it be to crank detail waaay higher than quest3 can do. I love GEVR but wish we had more controls to crank up render distance for powerful PCs.

      • Sven Viking

        Have you checked out the PC version of Google Earth VR?

        • SVRWok

          yep thats what the abbreviation GEVR means. Google Earth VR is PC only, theres no other version. Like many others, I’m longing for Google to give it some love and update it someday. Or open source it.

  • Dale

    Does this also include being able to access 360 photo spheres like GEVR does? That was the most compelling feature for me. The 3D data is cool but still not very high res, so being able to fly around the 3D data and then look at a high res photo sphere really sold me on using it for virtual tourism (we often used it to decide where to visit in person).

    • EarthQuest

      Yes, for place identification, all the street images and every community made panorama are in !

      • Nevets

        The only concern I have is that the photospheres are extremely poor quality / resolution and not really usable, is this something you can fix? Everything else is great!

  • Till Eulenspiegel

    Flying around the landscape is only fun for a few minutes, the real use is the Streetview to walk around the location in VR. For that feature, “Wander” is still the no.1 app. You can walk around the Pyramids, Machu Picchu, White House, etc, like you are there.

    I often use it to scout a new location before I went there, just to get a feel of the location – good for travellers who like to plan ahead.