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New Google Earth for Android, iOS adds custom maps

Google Earth 6.2 for Android and iOS adds KML support, which means custom map overlays are now mobile.

Google Earth image with Wikiloc trail overlay
Screenshot by Jaymar Cabebe/CNET

Released today, the newest version of Google Earth for Android and iOS adds a long-awaited feature that should make the mobile mapping experience more like that on the desktop: KML file support.

KML, or Keynote Markup Language, is a file format used to display geographic data in the Google Earth browser. The format can be used by anyone to create and distribute custom map overlays on the Web.

With the new addition, you can now, from your Android device, iPad, or iPhone, click on any Google Earth file from around the Web to display custom elements like place marks, image overlays, and text descriptions on your Google Earth screen. This opens up a world of possibilities to your mobile mapping experience.

And to take full advantage of the added KML support, the updated app can now tap into the Google Earth Gallery and search through a collection of custom maps from all over the Web. Some of the more popular items from the gallery include a real-time Earthquakes map, which pinpoints the world's seismic hot spots, and Wikiloc, which plots outdoor trails on 3D terrain.

The Google Earth Gallery is now accessible directly from the mobile app. Screenshot by Jaymar Cabebe/CNET

In addition to KML, Android users also get a new Share feature, which allows them to easily share a snapshot of the current map view through Gmail, Twitter, or pretty much any other installed app on the device.

Google Earth 6.2 (Android | iOS) is available now from the Google Play store and the App Store.