Today Google has launched an update to Google Earth VR which brings the company’s huge library of street-level imagery into the application which lets users immersively explore the entire globe.

Google Earth VR is a stunning VR experience which we called “a breathtaking new way to know our planet,” back when it launched in late 2016. Now the application, which is available on both the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, is getting even better thanks to the addition of Street View browsing.

Google Earth VR lets you fly from an overview of the entire Earth right down to a block-scale view, letting you see actual geometry of buildings and more (in places where available), but when you zoom all the way down to human-scale, that geometry isn’t particularly precise. Now with the latest update to Google Earth VR you can flip to Street View imagery, which lets you see actual street-level photos captured by Google’s fleet of Street View cameras in 85 countries. In addition to Google-captured imagery, you’ll also be able to see 360 geo-tagged photos captured by users (same as you can see on Google Maps).

In Google Earth VR when you zoom down near street-level you’ll be able to see a floating photosphere above your controller if Street View imagery is available for that region. Just hold the sphere up to your head to dive into the closeup view. It’s a cool new feature, but we’ve still got our fingers crossed for multi-user support for cooperative exploration.

Google Earth VR is free for both the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, and if you have neither of those systems, you can immersively view Street View imagery through the Street View app on Daydream (Android) or Cardboard (Android & iPhone).

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
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  • MosBen

    As cool as Google Earth VR already is, I can’t help but think that within the next several years it’s going to be photo realistic all the way down to street view. Indeed, I wonder if at some point we’ll see VR video games built on top of Google Earth VR. Imagine zooming through New York streets in a car and then just driving west to Pennsylvania, getting out of the car and doing some kind of shooting game in the woods.

    • kool

      Just wait until its a live view of the whole world all the time.

      • VR-CCTV everywhere that 3D maps the environment in real time so you can enter those areas. Teleport to China, sit in a street cafe and watch people eat fried locusts on a stick. Cannie wait captain!

  • Jonathan

    This is SWEET. I already love Google Earth VR on my Rift. Cannot wait to go home and try out this update.

  • Foreign Devil

    Nice! Already a great app. Bring on the stereoscopic 360 degree street view please. ANd yeah in 10 years I hope Google earth is remapped using drones to get 10X or more detail.

    • David Herrington

      Make it at least 100x and then maybe it will be more like you are there.

    • Adil Hadri

      It’s only need a 3D stereoscopic and HMD without SDE

  • Nisei

    You can only look around in 1 spot and not skip to the next one like you normally would in Streetview.
    And I wish Google would finally let us to rotate using one of the joysticks instead of having to drag.

    • Get Schwifty!

      Not skip *yet*….

  • xXx

    Update is really amazing… I have noticed only one small problem – when you will turn on “human scale” mode than you can not drag terrain :(