New Google Earth makes it easier to explore Qatar hotspots

Google Earth

Visitors and residents interested in learning more about Qatar’s most popular venues should now find them easier to access on Google Earth.

The 13-year-old program, which offers satellite views of places and landscapes around the world, was relaunched last week in a more user-friendly format.

A search of Qatar highlights hotspots like Souq Waqif, the new Msheireb Museums, Katara Cultural Village and the Corniche.

London Eye, as seen via Google Earth

As part of its update, Google Earth is offering 3D tours of some landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the London Eye, a ferris wheel off of the River Thames.

But there don’t appear to be any cool such features for Qatar.

Museum of Islamic Art, as seen via Google Earth

That said, the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) does stand out more than other attractions when in 3D mode.

Street view

The MIA is also one of the only places in the country that can be seen via Google’s “street view,” which offers a panoramic look at each of the building’s three floors.

Charlotte/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

In 2015, the government said it had signed an agreement with Google to bring the street view tech to Qatar, but no timeline was ever given.

And privacy concerns continue to abound.

Google would need permission from authorities to take photographs of locations. This is usually done from cameras mounted on cars, and the photos are then stitched together in panoramic views.

Google Earth features

For those interested in planning vacations – or just satisfying their wanderlust vicariously – Google Earth now also offers a Voyager feature.

This takes people on interactive trips around the world, from big cities to rural parks.

Google has also teamed up with Sesame Street to present 10 “Girls Around the World.” These Muppet ambassadors share information about their countries, which include Afghanistan, China and India.

Finally, there’s an “I’m feeling lucky” button that take users to random locations when they click.

Google Earth is now accessible via one’s Chrome browser or on Android phones. It will be coming to iOS devices “soon,” Google said.

A new storytelling feature so that others can create similar Voyager tours is also in the works.

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