The start of school has kept me very busy, to the point that I haven’t had a chance to explore Google Sky very much. However, version 4.2 has some other enhancements that I’ll briefly mention. First there’s the flight simulator hidden as an Easter egg. Pressing CTRL-ALT-A will fired it up. There’s already been lots of blog buzz about this cool featuer, so I won’t write more about it here. Again, I just haven’t had time to play with it.
Of more interest to me are two other new features. First, there is the image viewer. This new feature allows users to match a photograph up with landscape and look at it with an enhanced viewer that zooms in, pans, etc. It works best with higher resolution images so that you can actually zoom in closely. The Gigapxl Photos layer really shows off this new feature. You can find it under Featured Content.
Google Earth 4.2 now has enhanced HTML handling built into placemarks. You can embed Flash, which means that you can also embed YouTube videos and other media into the placemarks. This means that you can develop even richer multimedia resources with GE. Of course, this will only work for teachers if you’re in a district that doesn’t block YouTube. I may have to see how it works with other video on demand services, but it has promise.