Google Earth has always been cool and the Google people have done a great job of constantly adding sweet, new features. The latest 4.3 update came out this week and . . . yes . . . sweet, new features!

Photo Realistic BuildingsPhoto realistic buildings

The new version lets you see 3D buildings faster and in more cities than ever. Lots of new buildings from San Francisco, Boston, Orlando, Munich, Zurich and others. Many are also more than just the Google Sketchup type and look, well . . . realistic.

Swoop navigation

“Swoop from outer space to street level and leap from one building top to another.” Not really sure about swooping but the Google folks have redesigned the controls a bit. Seems a little easier to use.

Light and ShadowLight and Shadow

This one I like. With the new Sunlight feature, you can watch shadows move across the globe as the sun rises and sets. You’ve got a slider option that lets you alter the light boundary.

Street View

If you love the Street View option in Google Maps, you now can get it in Google Earth! Fly into panoramic images of select cities and take a 360 degree tour.

Jump over to the LatLong Google Earth blog for more details. Lots of Google Earth help at their own site. I’ve put a bunch of stuff over at the Social Studies Central geography page.

The Google people have also put together a nice video overview of some of the new features.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tG7cM5Yvhz4&hl=en]

Have fun!