It’s Monday afternoon and Google has given you a reason to waste some of your precious workday in Google Earth.
The more Google improves its useful Maps service, the fewer excuses people have for screwing around on Google Earth, which they really should do more often. Today, the search giant announced a rare tweak to its in-browser virtual globe application, adding the ability to measure distances in a straight line as well as the area of any particular location.
Google’s announcement says the measure tool is one of its users’ most requested features for the app. The company suggests some practical applications, like checking the size of a park in a neighborhood you’re considering moving to, or giving teachers the ability to create interactive math problems for their students. The fact is, you can do this stuff on Maps, but that’s a lot less fun. You can even do it in the full Google Earth Pro desktop application, but it’s not as simple or intuitive. The new measurement features are available on Chrome and Android today with an iOS release coming “soon.”
This is simply an excuse to pull up Google Earth in your browser and play around like it’s 2003 all over again. Did you miss the new tours and 3D features that were released last year? Now’s the time to check them out.
Once you’ve figured out how far it is from the tip of South America to Antartica (about 1,000 miles), dive into current events and discover the distance between the Red Hen restaurant that kicked Sarah Huckabee Sanders out and the Red Hen restaurant that’s getting attacked for it on social media (about 153 miles). Get random and find the approximate area of Dollywood (around 2,787,486 square feet). Finally know how much bigger Bill Gates’s house is than yours (so much bigger). You know, just have some fun with it.