Yesterday, Google announced the arrival of Google Earth 6.2 for PCs. Despite the relatively minor decimal increase in version number, this release featured a major upgrade to how the program renders terrain. Though Google Earth smartphone apps haven’t been formally updated since, it’s looking like Google made the needed changes behind-the-scenes, and has delivered the same, more attractive graphics to mobile editions.
Google sources its images from a whole bunch of different companies. They can be taken at different times of the year, or under different weather conditions. When you’re zoomed-in close, as you might be with Google Maps, these differing image sources aren’t that big of a deal, but zoom-out to the sort of scale often dealt with in Google Earth, and you start to see this patchwork effect, where images from different sources stand out from each other in stark contrast. Google hasn’t gone into much detail about just how it pulled this one off, but as of this week’s changes, there’s a world of difference in the rendering quality, and many of those clashes between image sets are completely invisible.
We’ve tried this out and confirmed the graphical improvements on an Android tablet, but since it seems that the changes are server-side, we’re guessing you’ll also see the same improvements in the iOS version.