Google Updates Earth App in Time for Earth Day, Satellites Show Climate Change

On this Earth Day, April 20, 2021, celebrate our very planet, but then spend the other 364 days destroying it. As Mr. Spock would say, this “is highly illogical, Captain.” However, progress is being made on the oceans with the clean-up of miles and miles of plastics. I even saw an ad the other day promoting how a company replaces each tree it uses in its product by planting three other trees—although the trees they cut down might be hundreds of years old and irreplaceable.

If you want to see the damage we are doing to the planet you can view it almost firsthand from anywhere on earth, with Google Earth, of course. rolled out an article about Google’s latest update.

Google Earth now features a time-lapse mode that brings together 24 million satellite photos from the last 37 years. Google says it’s the biggest update to Google Earth since its redesign in 2017.

Since Google Earth hasn’t gotten any major new features updates since then, this qualifies as the biggest update to the Earth app. Google Earth time-lapses launched a few years ago, but on a dedicated site and only in 2D. Now it’s in 3D and available within the site and app. Exciting stuff — for five minutes (or really depressing, if you look at the Earth’s glaciers and rainforests). says you can access Timelapse in Google Earth simply by going to or hitting the Ship’s Wheel icon in Google Earth and selecting Timelapse, with Google also providing more than 200 spotlights and guided tours for specific locations like Las Vegas, Kuwait City and the Columbia Glacier in Alaska. And if that’s not enough, Google has uploaded more than 800 additional time-lapse videos meant for public use here, which can also be downloaded for free or viewed on YouTube.

It is still a unique planet as far as we know and it’s the only one we have at the moment. Perhaps we all can celebrate Earth Day picking up some of the garbage we tend to cast off just about anywhere. This Thursday also might be a good day to talk about the impact of climate change on generations to come and how we can use technology to fix our abuse of the planet.