Google Earth made a splash when it spun onto the iPhone last October, giving users the capability to explore the virtual globe for free from virtually anywhere with an Internet connection. But without some practical mapping features, like turn-by-turn navigation and street maps, Google Earth was largely a discovery tool that didn't have much real-world impact.
This week, Google Earth 2.0 for iPhone gets more useful by pulling those Google maps you saved in the My Maps section of the Google Maps Web site into the app's mobile orbit. In Google Earth, you'll tap the settings icon (the "i") and sign in to your Google Account. Just below the login field, there's any entry for My Maps. Tap it to view your saved maps, and tap again to select the map you'd like to zoom to. While you can view a saved location or route in Google Earth, the app doesn't replace Google Map's directions-dispending feature.
Google Earth for iPhone still spins its digital globe each time you switch locations, so if your maps are halfway around the world, expect a delay. It's also still slow to load each time, and the 2.0 model only makes the app larger, growing about 3MB in size since the first edition. But it has also gained other subtle features in version 2.0, including support for thirteen additional languages (listed below) and icons that glow as confirmation that you've tapped them.
Google Earth 2.0 for iPhone is available in 31 languages and dialects: English (U.S), English (UK), French (France), German, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, Korean, Japanese, Russian, Polish, Turkish, Ukrainian, Arabic, Thai, Czech, Greek, Hebrew, Indonesian, Malaysian, Romanian, Slovak, and Croatian.
Download: Google Earth for Windows|Mac.