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Google rolled out a new version of its Google Earth software, replacing the patchy, quilt-like mapping graphics with smoother, more cohesive graphics.

“The Google Earth globe is made from a mosaic of satellite and aerial photographs taken on different dates and under different lighting and weather conditions. Because of this variance, views of the Earth from high altitude can sometimes appear patchy,” wrote Google Earth Project Manager Peter Birch in a blog post yesterday.

The new way of rendering makes the mapping graphics appear far more like a single image, complete with textures and shading. It really looks like something that came out of a movie — so much so that when I typed in an address I checked my audio setting to find out why the music wasn’t playing. (And then I realized this wasn’t an episode of Planet Earth.)

The update also includes sharing integration with Google’s social network, Google+. You can now easily share a screenshot of any Google Earth view by clicking a button in the upper right-hand corner of the window. This could be pretty useful when giving directions since it’s a little more dynamic than the standard Google Maps street view feature.

The new update is available on both the mobile and desktop versions of Google Earth, which you can download on the official page.

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