Google pushed out a big update to Google Earth for Chrome and Android today. Alongside a snazzy new look, the new version adds guided tours, 3D maps and a random button.
The guided tours, which Google calls "Voyager", aren't just some hacked together algorithmic mess, they're led by scientists and documentarians. At launch there are 50 tours available of places like Gombe National Park, a variety of North America's National Parks, or a tour of Frank Gehry's buildings. Google also teams up with BBC and Planet Earth, so you can zoom in on different locations from the show and learn more.
If you're truly bored, you can also use the "I'm feeling lucky" button to get sent some random place in the world. Once you're there, Google packs in useful information by pulling in sources like Wikipedia so you can learn a bit about the place you land. The 3D button allows you to view any place you want from any angle, though in most cases that tends to look as weird and awkward as you're likely imagining it would.
Google Earth has always been a bit of a fun toy, but it seems like Google's making an attempt to make it a bit more useful. To that end, they plan on adding more tours on a weekly basis, which should make it useful to come back to.