Google Earth 6 is out. One of the new features is trees, as seen in the video above.

That’s all well and good I suppose, but what I’m more happy about is that 6 is much, much better than the piece of crap 5 was.

For those of you wondering why anyone would even bother using Google Earth when there’s Google Maps, the answer is that for map geeks there is no better tool, well.. that and this site.

A simple example of why Google Earth is necessary for some is because when you want to use map overlays, get data coordinates lightning quick, sync up GPS data and the like, you need this software.

I said GEarth 5 was crap. Yes it was. Clunky, slow, and the pegman Street View made the program very crash-happy. A lot of us wished for the old v4.3 to come back, because that GEarth version was great.

Things about Google Earth 6 that I really, really like

Zooming actually goes where your mouse is on the map

When you put your mouse pointer anywhere on the map in GEarth 5 and use your mouse-wheel-up/down to zoom, it only zooms direct-center. GEarth 6 now zooms where your mouse pointer is on the map. For example, if you put the pointer slightly to the left, that’s where GEarth will zoom to. Put to the right or anywhere else on the current view, that’s where GEarth zooms. It’s great and a long overdue feature.

Street View finally isn’t a slow-loading crappy mess and is actually useful

Street View on Google Maps is great, but in GEarth 5 it was awful. GEarth 6 finally gets it right. “Pegman” is on the far right of the map (move your mouse over to top right and he’ll fade into view) where you can click and drag him anywhere just like you can in GMaps.

Map imagery seems to load a lot better than before

GEarth 5 for whatever reason loaded map imagery very slowly. You’ll notice an immediate improvement in image-loading with GEarth 6.

Startup noticeably quicker

Another thing GEarth 5 was notorious for is making you wait forever just to start. GEarth 6’s startup is much, much quicker and hearkens back to the 4.3 days – and that’s not a bad thing at all.

Using Google Earth 5? Upgrade to 6. Now.

You’ll be glad you did. I was very close to giving up on GEarth for complete web-based maps because of how crappy 5 was. But with 6 Goog saved the ship for more journeys. 🙂