Google lets you explore ocean floor, and it's awesome
Monday, June 8, 2015, 10:51 AM - Can you still call it "Google Streetview" if there's no streets? Or dry land?
The search engine giant's latest project is a mesmerizing time suck regardless, with 40 images posted to a dedicated page as part of Google Maps.
While it's easy to get lost beneath the waves (check out the underwater sculptures off Mexico's Isla Mujeres), Google timed the project's release to match up with World Oceans Day on June 8.
"Home to the majority of life on Earth, the ocean acts as its life support system, controlling everything from our weather and rainfall to the oxygen we breathe," reads a post on the Google Maps blog. "Yet despite the ocean’s vital importance, the ocean is changing at a rapid rate due to climate change, pollution, and overfishing, making it one of the most serious environmental issues we face today."
Aside from the eye candy, Google says the images can serve as a base line to monitor change over time.
"This comprehensive record of coral reefs showcases the beauty of these ecosystems and highlights the threats they face, such as the impact of increasing storms in the Great Barrier Reef and of rising water temperatures, factors causing the reefs to bleach white," the company says.
The 40 sites come from every ocean, showcasing aquatic gems from Australia, Indonesia, Africa, the Caribbean and elsewhere.
Google partnered with XL Catlin Seaview Survey, NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and the Chagos Conservation Trust to obtain the images.
You can explore them at your leisure here.
SOURCES: Google Maps