Google introduced Earth for the iPhone and iPod touch today with a free version of the fascinating desktop program that literally puts the whole world in your hands. I’ve spent a good portion of the morning playing around with it and am pleased to report the satellite imagery and 3D terrain effects are quite amazing.
Earth makes impressive use of touch screen technology and Apple’s accelerometer, letting you spin the globe with a swipe of your finger and literally tilt your view to the curvature of the earth to see the terrain of whatever place you’re visiting. The application has a ton of information and labeling built in, with links to over 8 million Panoramio photographs and Wikipedia articles you can read within Earth or jump to in Safari.
Google’s handy two minute video linked above explains the app pretty well, and there’s additional information at the Google Earth and Maps Team blog.
I’ve also posted below a gallery of screenshots from my journey this morning. Based on my initial experience, I’d say Google Earth is likely to become a popular time wasting app in a hurry.