Google Earth VR Updated With Search Feature, Rift Support

Google Earth's VR variant is getting a new feature that allows you to search for any place where you want to go, in addition to receiving support for Oculus and its Touch Controllers, Google announced on Tuesday. The new search function, when activated, prompts a VR keyboard that you can manipulate with your respective headset's controllers. Once you've found a destination, you'll be able to warp there instantly. With Google Earth VR now having full Oculus support, the same version that's on Steam for HTC Vive users will now work with the Oculus Rift headset, and the app is also available in the Oculus store.

Support for Oculus should be seamless and work in the same way and with all of the same features as the HTC Vive version of Google Earth VR. Likewise, the implementation of the VR keyboard used in the new search function looks identical across versions. As can be seen in a GIF shown in the gallery beneath this writing, you can write using the VR keyboard by simply pointing at the letters you want to input, meaning the feature should work in an identical manner regardless of your VR platform of choice. Although Steam is a fairly ubiquitous PC program, Google has opted to make Google Earth VR available in the Oculus Store, and the two stores will presumably feature the same version of the app since Google did not say otherwise.

While Oculus users are now free to jump in the fray without workarounds, those without a PC-based VR headset will have to keep on using apps like VRidge and Trinus to fly around the Earth in virtual reality. Google did not announce anything for Cardboard or Daydream at this time, and Oculus support does not necessarily equate to Gear VR support. Those who lack both a PC-based headset and a powerful enough PC to run the app can always turn to the mobile VR version of Google Street View, of course; it's not as full-featured as Google Earth VR, but it does allow a fair bit of exploration. Google is expected to debut more VR-related products later this year.

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