Today, Google is adding new tools to Google Earth on the web that let you build your own tour of a place right on top of the Google Earth map. It could help solve the problem of not being able to communicate just how awesome that walk around Tokyo was by letting you show your friends your journey. The tools let you set landmarks, draw lines from place to place, add text, images, and videos to every point along the way, and present the whole thing, step by step.
Google gave me early access to the tools, and they were pretty simple to use. In just a few minutes, I was able to build a short tour of some of my favorite places in Tokyo’s Harajuku district. One of my favorite features was being able to capture a specific camera angle for a landmark, which let me zoom in on a delicious ramen spot that would be really hard to see from a birds-eye view. Here are a couple screenshots:
Google also gave me access to a few premade tours (which they are calling “stories”), including an Antarctic expedition, a look at Renaissance architecture in Italy, and even a tour of landmarks that are important in the book Walk Two Moons, and these were much more robust. Here’s what some of that Antarctic expedition looks like:
Google Earth did already have guided tours in its “Voyager” tab, but those are professionally made. The tools launching today allow anyone to make and share a tour — and Google says that you can even invite others to collaborate on them. However, you’ll only be able to use the creation tools on the web, though Google says you can still view tours with the latest versions of the iOS and Android app.