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Street View Comes To Google Earth VR

The new update brings Street View imagery from 85 countries.

Last year Google launched a VR version of Google Earth, letting you visit locations around the world in 3D. A favorite app for many, Earth VR lets you fly over a city, stand on top of the highest peaks, or just casually walk down the street of your childhood home.

It’s a beautiful app with so much possibility. Much like traveling in reality, whether visiting the familiar or discovering the new, Earth VR is an experience that everyone can enjoy.

Now Earth VR is getting an update we’ve all been waiting for—Street View.

Available on the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, the update lets you explore Street View imagery from 85 countries right within Earth VR, making it easier than ever to experience the world as it really is. You can now fly down closer to street level, check your controller to see if Street View is available, and enter an immersive 360° photo.

If a location has Street View available, you’ll see a preview of the 360° photo within a sphere on your controller hand. As you fly low over city streets, you can see the preview sphere update as you glide along. You can also stick your head in the preview bubble to peer into the Street View photo, pull your head out and you’re back in Earth VR.

Some of my first visits with the new update included dropping in on a couple featured locations like the Colosseum in Rome and the busy streets of New York. Entering a Street View photo is immersive, letting you feel like you’re actually standing there. But this moment of time is just that, a snapshot, where pedestrians stand frozen in time around you.

For now, it appears Street View doesn’t allow you to navigate forward through the streets. Instead providing a trail of 360° photo hotspots that you must enter and exit to move on to the next. I’d love to skip down the street with the tap of the controller, just like we’ve grown familiar with from Google Maps.

If you have a Vive or Rift, it’s worth checking out. Maybe you’ll luck out and stand in front of your home in VR. Or maybe you’ll just soar right into the bizarre.

If you don’t have a Vive or Rift, you can still check out Street View in VR with your phone—just download the Street View app for Daydream and Cardboard.

Image Credit: Google Street View

About the Scout

Jonathan Nafarrete

Jonathan Nafarrete is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of VRScout.

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