Google Earth

This is the globe that you always wished you had! Spin it with your fingers, zoom all the way in to be able to see the car in your driveway, turn roads, labels and boundaries on or off. There even are tours of interesting areas, 3D flyovers, and photos and data that users have added. Google Earth is a "must-have" first app for anyone who loves armchair exploration. Many companies and agencies use the Pro version of Google Earth for things like city planning and route development.

The "personal" version of Google Earth is free, and it is available as either a browser plug-in, or as a standalone desktop program for PCs and Macs. The desktop program does a lot more, but the plug-in is convenient and you can have both. It's also available for iPads and iPhones, and for Android platforms. Amazon doesn't offer it, but it will run on the Kindle Fire if you get it from a third-party marketplace like 1Mobile.com. (See our article, How to get Apps from Other Sites on Kindle Fire.) Sadly, it's not yet available for the Chromebook, but we hope it might become one of Google's new Android Apps on ChromeOS soon.

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