Google Earth users can now dive beneath a dynamic water surface to explore the 3D sea floor terrain. The map also includes 20 content layers, containing information from the world's leading scientists, researchers, and ocean explorers.
Sylvia Earle, the National Geographic Society's explorer in residence, said the new features would bring the blue planet to life. "I cannot imagine a more effective way to inspire awareness and caring for the blue heart of the planet than the new Ocean in Google Earth. For the first time, everyone from curious kids to serious researchers can see the world, the whole world, with new eyes," she added.
Al Gore was at the launch event in San Francisco which, Google hopes, will take its mapping software a step closer towards total coverage of the entire globe. In a statement, Mr Gore said that the update would make Google Earth a "magical experience".
"You can not only zoom into whatever part of our planet's surface you wish to examine in closer detail, you can now dive into the world's ocean that covers almost three-quarters of the planet and discover new wonders that had not been accessible in previous versions"
Plans for UK satellite launcher
In other news: Two British companies - one being Virgin Galactic - are involved in discussions about developing a low-cost rocket, launched from a conventional aircraft, capable of putting small satellites in orbit.