AMD & NVIDIA GPU VR Performance - Google Earth VR

Author:Kyle Bennett

Date: Thursday , November 17, 2016

If you have ever experienced Google Earth, which you likely have, and were impressed with the experience, just imagine having a globe about 6 feet across that you can zoom into so close that you can then stand on the street and look up and appreciate the skyscrapers. So what kind of GPU do you need for this VR application?

What is Google Earth VR?

Google Earth VR uses a custom engine built by Google and will be the 18th VR title we have reviewed. Currently it requires use of an HTC Vive system with motion controllers. If you have ever used Google Earth, it is like a badass version of Google Maps. Here is what Google has to say about it.

Explore the world from totally new perspectives. Stroll the streets of Tokyo, soar over Yosemite, or teleport across the globe.

Google Earth VR puts the whole world within your reach. Take a peek at some of the incredible sights you'll experience along the way in the preview gallery below.

The concept of Google Earth VR is simple; you get a globe and you pretty much get to go anywhere you want to. At time of writing this, GEVR has been released for about 10 hours, so the application is very much in its infancy, but there is still a whole hell of a lot to see and do. You got the whole world right? I actually live fairly far out in the country, and I did find limitations of where the 3D ground effects are extended to. I am not sure if this was a bug or a limitation. I am sure its abilities and places will expand.

You can zoom into the world to where it turns into a "map on the wall" type of image. Even then you have enough granularity that I can make out the eves on my roof being rendered in 3D. You drag the map around with your right controller, and also zoom in and out with it as well. With your left controller, once you get close to ground level, you can shift into "Superman" mode, which is probably the most fun. I doubt I have to explain what that mode is about.

Considering that most of the objects on the ground are 3D objects rendered from a flat picture, I got the feeling of being in some whacked-out Tim Burton film. It is however very cool though.

There are "tours" you can take into parts of the map that have had an incredible amount of detail added as well. If you have a Vive, you owe it to yourself to take a trip on Google Earth VR.