Google Earth is a pretty heavy program so it has taken a little time to get it optimised for the Android market – but it is now here and runs beautifully. In fact, it runs as well as it runs on my computer to a great extent. Of course when loading large masses of data you can see pretty dramatic decrease in phone performance if you are running it on a phone versus a computer – but all in all it is usable and quite responsive. It also has support for a lot of little things that are built into the Android platform such as voice commands. For example, you can tell the app (with your voice) to visit Sydney and it will zoom straight there and bring it up in all of its glory. I was a little worried about the performance when used on a phone – however it is only available for Android 2.1 and better so older Android devices which may not be as powerful will not run it.
For those of us that like to play around with Google Earth at home, we can now do it on the move (however, the Google Earth iPhone app has been around for a while now – I am specifically talking about Android users). It is currently only available (officially) for Nexus One, iPhone and Droid – although I’d give it a go if you have any Android device that runs Android 2.1 or better, there is a good chance it will work. However, those of us who have a different Android phone will need to find a work around to get it working possibly (I may be wrong). Google Earth for Android offers pretty much the exact same functionality as the desktop version. It has full 3D capability, search functions specifically aimed at finding localities, layers and multi-touch support.
It will be interesting to see what extra functionality will be built into the Google Earth app as it starts taking advantage of some of the features that are part of the Android core software. I mean we already have multi-touch support but it would be nice to see something like the ability to tilt our phones in order to enable the map to jump out a little. As it stands it is free to install on your phone so not many complaints should be forthcoming in regards to having it available for mobile users.
Currently, voice support (for the Android version) is available for English, Mandarin and Japanese. I wasn’t able to find any information on what language is likely to be next – however the software already has support for non-voice activated commands in a variety of language. If I were to take a guess I would probably say that Spanish, French or German is likely to be next in regards to voice support – however, it is a Google app so who knows. Maybe all three will be supported with a few other more obscure languages that none of us have heard of. You can always try using a translator to translate the voice commands if you really need voice activation.