Google Earth lets users dive in to explore ocean depths

Latest version of Google Earth also offers 3-D maps of Mars and historical images.

The new version also includes several other updates, according to Google.

For example, the application now has historical imagery, showing users images of a place years or even decades in the past. It's designed so that when someone uses the new time slider -- by clicking on the clock icon in the toolbar - they can see how an area has changed over time.

Google also collaborated with NASA to add a 3-D map of Mars. The map includes the latest high-resolution imagery from the space agency and is accessed via a new Mars icon on the Google Earth toolbar.

But analysts said the ocean view is creating the most buzz among users.

"This is a good evolutionary move for Google," said Dan Olds, a principal analyst with the Gabriel Consulting Group. "Google Earth is becoming a key tool for a lot of users and a component in a lot of businesses operations -- everything from using it to show consumers their store locations to using it to route shipments. So why not add the rest of the Earth to it?"

Since about two-thirds of the planet is made up of water, Olds noted that he was impressed with how Google expanded its data storage capabilities to take on all the extra information. "This is going to be great for companies that want to see where their container load of shoes is at a particular moment," added Olds. "Take Nike, for example. Sure, they can get GPS coordinates from the shipper but Google Earth will let them see where their shipment is visually. It's not a complete revolution, but an interesting revolution."

Just last week, that Google launched what it calls Measurement Lab (M-Lab) , an open system that researchers and consumers can use to access its new Internet performance measurement tools.

The online behemoth last week also launched an updated version of its hosted Gmail e-mail service that lets users access their accounts new. The updated service would allow users to read, write and archive e-mail messages while flying in an aeroplane.

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