Google Earth gives Mac users flashy mapping apps

Google Inc. has released a Mac OS version of Google Earth, extending to Apple Computer Inc. users the flashy mapping application that has been wowing Windows PC users since its launch last year, the Mountain View, California, company said Tuesday.

Google Earth, available as a free download, taps a multiterabyte database of aerial and satellite images to let users “fly” around the globe using a video-game type user interface. Users can also save and share searches, and add notes.

The application can also retrieve local business listings from Google Local for the U.S., Canada and the U.K. It provides detailed road maps for these three countries as well as Western Europe, according to Google.

The Windows version exited beta, or test, status on Tuesday, the same day the beta version for Mac OS 10.4.x was introduced, Google said.

Google Earth Plus (US$20 per year) and Google Earth Pro ($400 per year), which are more sophisticated PC versions of the application, aren’t yet available for the Mac OS, Google said.

There is also a server-based, multiuser version called Google Earth Enterprise.

The Google Earth products are based on applications Google acquired when it bought Keyhole Corp. in 2004.

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