Google has released a major update to its Google Earth iOS app adding support for 3D cityscapes along with a new Tour Guide feature. Google Earth 7.0 now allows users to access a 3D flyover view of select cities; 3D imagery currently is currently available for Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, Geneva and Rome with new cities said to be added in the coming weeks. A new Tour Guide feature in the latest version also allows users to virtually explore new places with tours of major cities, historic landmarks and natural wonders. Google Earth 7.0 is a universal app requiring iOS 4.3 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download. The new 3D imagery feature requires an iPhone 4S, iPad 2 or third-generation iPad.
Luxury hotel chain The Ritz-Carlton has released an official free app for the iPhone, providing reservation, local guide, and concierge features for all of its worldwide hotels and resorts. Like other hotel apps, The Ritz-Carlton Hotels & Resorts app allows users to make, view and edit upcoming reservations at any of the hotel’s locations, browse hotel information along with photo galleries and amenities, and view interactive maps and directions. Additionally, users can access or enroll in a Ritz-Carlton Rewards account, receive special offers while staying at a Ritz-Carlton hotel, learn about events at the hotel, and receive recommendations and tips for nearby attractions, dining, entertainment and more.
In a novel touch, the Ritz-Carlton Hotels & Resorts app also integrates the company’s Foursquare World Concierge service. Launched last spring, this service provides information and recommendations via Foursquare, posted and curated by The Ritz-Carlton’s famous concierge service. Location services integration allows the application to determine when a guest has arrived at a Ritz-Carlton location, then provide appropriate destination and landmark tips assembled by The Ritz-Carlton Concierge team. In addition, the app provides access to exclusive Presidential Tips and other information that can be accessed by using the iPhone camera to scan QR codes located throughout the hotels and resorts; for example at The Ritz-Carlton Berlin, guests can enjoy a digital scavenger hunt led by QR codes and clues at each stop. The Ritz-Carlton Hotels & Resorts app is available from the App Store as a free download.
In celebration of Earth Day and National Parks Week, Fotopedia has released a new update to its National Parks app for iOS with support for the third-generation iPad Retina Display and a collection of new photos and visual stories. Fotopedia National Parks takes users on a visual exploration of the 58 National Parks across the U.S. with over 3,000 high-resolution images with point-of-interest descriptions throughout. The new version features a new Visual Stories section, published several times per week that provides a new way to experience the beauty and adventures of the National Parks in a magazine format.
The extraordinary image collection contained in the app is the result of a ten-year project by renowned photographer Quang-Tuan Luong who was the first person to photograph all 58 U.S. National Parks with a large format camera, travelling over 100,000 miles and producing extremely detailed photos that immerse the viewer in the landscapes. Users can navigate through the collection by searching or using smart tags and interactive maps as well as viewing instant slideshows and downloading free wallpapers; users can also mark photos as favourites to build their own personalized albums and share photos via e-mail, Facebook and Twitter. The app also includes a trip planner and itinerary builder for planning a visit to any of the various National Parks. Fotopedia National Parks is a universal app and is available from the App Store as a free download.