Following Google’s attempt last month to upstage Apple’s then rumored 3D-enhanced mapping app coming in iOS 6 by announcing their own 3D maps, Google has now released an updated Google Earth app for iOS, bringing 3D imaging to iOS before Apple (via MacRumors).
• Tour guide: Explore places you never thought to search for with new tours of your favorite cities, historic landmarks and natural wonders.
• 3D imagery: Take flight above entire cities in 3D. Get started with Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, Geneva or Rome and look for new additions in the coming weeks. Available for iPhone 4S and iPad 2 or later.
The new 3D aspects of Google Earth are actually pretty good! They’re automatically rendered when you zoom into certain supported locations, and even work with your device’s gyroscope and accelerometer to let you change your viewing perspective just by moving your device. The transition from 2D satellite images to 3D is surprisingly seamless as well.
Google has also included an interesting new “tour guide” feature in the update, taking users on a virtual your of major cities and landmarks. The whole package looks pretty impressive – but it’s not really a “mapping” solution in the same sense that Apple’s own Maps app is expected to be.
Google Earth is available now as a free download from the App Store, and requires an iPhone 4S, iPad 2, or 3rd-gen iPad to take advantage of the new 3D feature.