Google Earth VR is pretty self-explanatory; it’s Google Earth, but available on VR headsets like Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. What isn’t so easy to communicate is the sheer immensity of the world around you as you view everything Google has captured on the planet Earth, replete with 3D rendered models and its vast stores of 360 shots from around the globe. Now, the company has updated Earth VR to allow for in-Street View navigation, meaning you can easily move from 360 sphere to 360 sphere just like on the flatscreen version of Google Maps.

Google first added Street View to Earth VR back in September, which let you enter any one of Google’s panoramic captures just by selecting it when you were nearby. It was more of a peek inside Street View than a proper implementation though, so the update presents a much easier way to walk around a city in VR should rendered geometry or textures fail to show the world’s true complexity.

For now, Street View navigation is accomplished by selecting the preview sphere and pulling the trigger (but not by placing the preview sphere over your head). From there, you can navigate 360 spheres simply by pointing in the direction of an adjacent sphere and selecting it.

Google also says in the initial announcement on Steam that they’ve “worked hard to make changes that more efficiently use your bandwidth, resulting in faster load times.” The company says the update will improve imagery load times on Internet connections that may have been slow in the past.

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Check out Google Earth VR on Steam for Vive and Rift, and on the Oculus Store for Rift.

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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.
  • Foreign Devil

    Great! This was needed. Not time to start capturing those street views in stereoscopic 3D. Put another camera on that car!

  • dogtato

    This is a great addition, it was a hassle to move around in streetview before. The other issue I had was that it didn’t show you where exactly the streetview was located when you were selecting it, so you’d pick a spot and load on an adjacent street and have a hard time figuring out where you are relative to where you were aiming for. Not sure if they addressed that yet.

  • Andrew McEvoy

    Seriously awesome! I love google earth VR. For me it is a killer app. Its like owning a teleportation device in your living room.

    • Harper_PAC

      I’m waiting for the Flat Earth vers.