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Google is planning a pre-Earth Day announcement this week
Google has mailed out invitations for an Earth Day themed event in New York City this week.
The California-based search company is expected to launch a new version of Google Earth.
For those who don’t know, Google Earth is a virtual globe that allows users to trawl satellite images of the planet’s surface.
Google Earth uses image resolutions that range between 15 metres to 15 centimetres.
Google included its Street View feature, which offers a panoramic view from eye-level of streets across the world, in Google Maps back in 2008.
The invite teases a new version of the hugely-successful planet-visualising app
The nifty feature was later rolled into Google Maps, which shares some functionality with Google Earth.
But that could be about to change.
Google has promised to unveil a "brand new experience" for Google Earth during its event, which is being held at the Whitney Museum of Art in New York on April 18th.
Unfortunately, Google has remained pretty tight-lipped about the update.
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However, the Google Earth team did launch a new virtual reality version of the planet-visualising software on the Steam Store last year, so it would not be surprising if the new app shipped with some VR component.
Google also launched its DayDream virtual reality platform last year, so a new Google Earth could tie-in nicely with that.
A dramatically revamped version of Google Earth could bring in more functionality from Google Maps, including traffic reports and local listings.
The news comes as researchers showed that tens of thousands of fraudulent businesses are created on the app every month in an effort to push web traffic towards fraudulent online schemes.
Google supplied researchers with a number of bogus business listings to double-check
For example, a fraudster could list a locksmiths at a location on Google Maps where there are no business premises.
When a prospective customer calls the number listed in the bogus business listing on Google Maps, they are put through to a centralised call centre that hires unaccredited contractors to do jobs all over.
According to the research, the customer will often end-up being coerced into paying more than the original quoted price – and cannot visit the store to complain, since it does not exist outside the app.
The researchers looked at more than 100,000 listings flagged by the Google Maps team as abusive between June 2014 and September 2015.
The group found that less than 1 per cent of all Google Maps listings are fraudulent.