Monday, October 27, 2008, 01:00 pm
Google Earth lands for iPhone, Netflix testing Mac streamingGoogle on Monday launched a version of Google Earth as a native application for iPhone and iPod touch owners. Meanwhile, Netflix said it has begun testing its second-gen Generation Media Player, which will stream movies to Intel Macs.
Google Earth for the iPhone and iPod touch is a native application (Free, App Store), that lets "you to fly to the far reaches of the world from the palm of your hand."
The software is based on the same 3D immersive world of Google Earth for Macs and Windows PCs that has seen over 400 million unique downloads since its launch back in 2005.
"Not only is having Google Earth on your iPhone convenient, but the touch interface is a very natural way to interact with the Earth," Peter Birch, product manager for Google Earth, wrote on the company's mobile blog. "Just swipe your finger across the screen and you fly to the other side of the globe; tilt your phone and your view tilts as well."
The app also includes a built-in search and supports pinch to zoom in or out, and double tap with one finger to zoom in and two fingers to zoom out. It also integrates a "My Location" feature, which "can fly to where you are in the real world on your phone." In addition, Google says it's included over eight million Panoramio photos, which are geo-located photos of places that you can view from your iPhone.
A video demonstrating the software can be seen below:
Meanwhile, MacNN reports that Netflix is launching Mac support for internet streaming movies utilizing Microsoft's Silverlight, a web-browser plug-in that features animation and audio-video capabilities similar to Adobe's Flash software.
Availability will reportedly start with a small number of subscribers, expanding to all subscribers by year's end. Silverlight features cross-platform and cross-browser support, as well as Play Ready DRM, a pivotal factor in Netflix being able to stream copy-write-protected content to subscribers on both Macs and PCs.
Mac-based customers and Firefox users on both platforms were key to Netflix adopting Silverlight. Netflix Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt said, "Members who enjoy watching movies and TV episodes... that can be instantly streamed at Netflix will be thrilled with this next generation improvement of access and quality, on a broader range of platforms, including Intel Macs and Firefox."
The supporting Silverlight player will work only on Intel-based Macs, which currently account for roughly three-fourths of Mac units operated by Netflix subscribers. Streaming will work in either Safari or Firefox.