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An 'Earth' button is shown in Google Maps after the Google Earth plug-in is downloaded to the desktop. The plug-in supports the Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Flock and Safari web browsers.
The plug-in allows people to look at buildings in the round, to get angled views of the terrain, and to pan and zoom into the 3D view.
Google Earth is effective for showing contoured landscapes, such as mountain ranges like the Lake District (pictured). The company has provided 36 places such as the Taj Mahal and Table Mountain for people to explore.
In certain urban areas with plenty of tall buildings, such as New York (pictured), the 3D view can be seen from a low level.
The images can be navigated by using the on-screen menu, or with a mouse and keyboard shortcuts.
Other areas, such as Stonehenge (pictured), highlight the contrast between 3D objects and flat low-resolution backgrounds.