Thursday, 9 May 2013

Small step towards integration: Google Earth adds Street View

Even though Android has a share menu to make apps talk together, things are not very integrated. Most Android apps do one thing only, and you usually need a collection of apps with overlapping functions to do related things. A handful of Google messaging apps, a bunch of different search apps, an email app and a Gmail app, and a bunch of alarm clock/countdown timer/stopwatch/time zone/clock synchronization apps instead of a single integrated time app. For chat and VoIP you need an entire homescreen!

And then there are the Google Earth, Google Maps, Street View, and Sky Map apps where a single integrated map and navigation app could have done the job. Google Maps doesn't even have a share menu, so you can't switch from a map in Maps to a birds eye view in Earth. Google Earth has a share menu, but you can't use it to jump from Earth to Maps. It looks like these apps were made on different planets in not-so-parallel universes.

But now Street View is cheating on Maps by sleeping with Earth. The new edition of Google Earth zooms down all the way to street level. It's still slow as an alien sloth, it still crashes as fast as a North Korean rocket, it's still not in the same galaxy as Google Maps, and it still doesn't let you swipe upwards to get a seamless view of the sky over the earth. But maybe a future update will launch Google Earth into space?

Google Earth

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