Google Upgrades Mapping Tools for Google Earth

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company said four times more land will be covered in the latest version of its free Google Earth software, enabling about one-third of the world’s population to obtain an aerial view of their homes and neighborhood.

The software also is being offered in German, Spanish, French and Italian. The computer coding for the first time will work on Linux operating platforms, a breakthrough likely to broaden the product’s appeal.

More than 100 million people have downloaded Google Earth software since it was offered a year ago, according to figures released by the company for the first time Monday.

Meanwhile, Google’s online mapping service for finding directions and locating businesses has emerged as a major challenger to the longtime leaders in the category, AOL’s Mapquest and Yahoo.

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