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Soar through Google Earth with Leap Motion

Although only Leap Motion developers will be able to play with the Google Earth integration right now, the Leap launches next month.

Google Earth has been around for years, but thanks to a new integration with Leap Motion, you can now soar through the digital representation of our planet like never before.

Starting with the release today of Google Earth 7.1, those who use Leap Motion's hands-free 3D gesture control technology will be able to control the exploration tool, "flying" through the software by simply waving their hands.

As of right now, unfortunately, the only people who will be able to benefit from this partnership are the thousands of developers who have already received one of Leap Motion's controllers. But the San Francisco startup is expected to begin delivering hundreds of thousands of controllers next month, and clearly, it is hoping that the Google Earth integration will be one of the highest-profile applications that will attract customers. The Leap will cost $80.

Leap Motion has recently been ramping up its partnerships. Earlier this month, it announced a deal to bundle and embed its technology with Hewlett-Packard devices, and it previously said it would bundle the Leap with Asus laptops. The company also has unveiled plans to launch with applications from leading software developers like Autodesk, Corel, Disney Interactive, and the Weather Channel, among others.