Just installed the new version 5.0, the new skin and start up picture look great, and the new features are very interesting

NZHerald 'Google takes a dive with New Earth Version' 7:00am Tuesday 3 February 2009

"Google will now let users take a dip in some of the world's most spectacular underwater environments.

Explore the Ocean - a feature of the new 5.0 version of the popular Google Earth application - shows three-dimensional underwater terrain, plus a host of content supplied by marine scientists and environmental advocates.

The layer - an add-on to the free software - includes premier locations like the Great Barrier Reef, Antarctica and the Galapagos Islands.

It highlights popular New Zealand surf and dive spots like the Rainbow Warrior wreck, and marine reserves including the Poor Knights.

The Ocean feature is turned on as a default setting in the version 5.0. As users zoom in on the ocean, they close in on a moving water surface, which they can dive beneath to navigate 3D submarine views.

20 content layers are included, covering some of the most inaccessible marine locations around the world. Users are encourage to submit their own photos and videos of favourite surf spots.

Geotagged areas will link to YouTube videos covering endangered marine species.

"For each of the locations identified in the new 'Explore the Ocean' layer, people will be able to see what's there, why it's unique, and how and why it's changing," says Professor John Montgomery of the South Pacific Centre for Marine Science at the University of Auckland. "It also highlights how humans both affect and depend upon the oceans."

"Through the internet, people in New Zealand and around the world will be able to get a better feel for the plight of our oceans, and will be inspired to find out more. "

Montgomery says scientists at the Centre are excited by the possibilities it offers them.

"For example, combining Google Earth with rapidly developing technologies in tagging will enable us to portray the amazing migrations and navigational abilities of seabirds, and long-distance ocean travellers like tuna, billfish, sharks and whales. "

Another new feature in Google Earth 5.0 is Mars 3D, with high-res imagery, archived satellite photography and educational tools."