Google Earth VR gives you a whole new reason to try virtual reality

Planet Earth is pretty freaking cool, right? What if you could see it in its near-entirety without ever leaving home?

You can probably see where this is going - indeed, now you can thanks to the all-new Google Earth VR. 

In amazing detail, this VR-optimized version of the world-famous Google Earth will transport you to the highest peaks, famous sites and cities you've never visited before. And we're not talking about simply standing you up in front of the Vatican: from the looks of it, the experience will be like you're flying all around the world.

And once you've explored enough of the big blue marble, you can go check it out from space. 

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Because the planet is so huge and you could easily get lost in [name your wilderness], Google Earth VR includes cinematic tours and curated destinations, including the Amazon River, Manhattan skyline, Grand Canyon and Swiss Alps.

Google Earth VR is launching first on HTC Vive, and you'll find it free on the Steam Store today.  While the headset is still pricey at $799/£689/€899, the gorgeous (and did we mention free?) Google Earth VR is yet another reason to consider going in on a headset. 

As you can see from the video above, it looks like you control your movement inside the experience using the HTC Vive controller, flitting from place to place as if you were teleporting. Nifty. 

And don't worry if you don't have or even want a Vive, as further updates on Google Earth VR expanding to other platforms are due next year.

Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.