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06 July 2017

Watch a bear play in an Alaskan waterfall right from Google Earth

Explore from home.
Explore from home.

Image: De Agostini/M. Santini/REX/Shutterstock

Thanks to Voyager, Google Earth’s storytelling platform, you can now basically take an even deeper look at Alaska without having to leave your couch. 

Pretty cool, right?

Voyager, which is essentially a collection of guided stories and tours based on maps, will begin streaming live content Thursday, starting with Katmai National Park in Alaska. There are five live cams in Voyager for people to use to explore, according to a statement from Google. 

Google partnered with Explore.org, a multimedia organization that hosts several nature livestreams, to bring this new feature to life. 

To access the livestreams, users just open up the Google Earth application and head to the menu icon on the top lefthand corner of the screen. From there, simply click “Voyager,” which is demarcated by a ship’s wheel, and head to the “Nature” tab. The livestreams are branded with “explore.org” in the lower left-hand side. When we watched, we saw a bear splashing around in a waterfall and later on, another casually walking through a river. 

Google didn’t say whether even more live cams would make their way to Google Earth (and when that’d be), but Explore.org founder Charles Annenberg Weingarten seems to hint at more to come in a post on Medium.

“So, please join Google and Explore.org and discover the “live world.” Whether it be the brown bears of Katmai National Park, the wild belugas and polar bears of the arctic, the bald eagles of Iowa, the elephants and hippos of Africa, the pandas of China, or a live birth of a puppy who will one day become a service dog for a soldier with PTSD — welcome to our family,” he wrote.

“Explore.org and Google Earth simply want to give you an up close and personal look at nature with the hope that you will fall in love with this beautiful planet,” Annenberg Weingarten added.

On Explore’s website, you can find thousands of films, photos, and more, spotlighting different locations, animals, and people all around the world. 

Google Earth already has a VR component, but it’s unclear if this new feature will lean on that tech in the future for an even more immersive experience. 

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