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Local info database for Google Earth

Smile: the detail on Google Earth can be astonishing, with larger cities being digitised in such detail as to make out individual people

Google has added a great new feature to the latest versions of Google Earth - direct access to local information about areas of interest, added by the people who've been and live there.

Google Earth employs the use of KML (keyhole markup language), which allows users to input geographical or local data on an area or building. Now the KML data is searchable, allowing you to look for specific areas under more indigenous titles.

Writing in a company blog , Chikai Ohazama, product manager for the Google Earth team, wrote: "Users can now search through all of the world's KML files, making the millions of Google Earth layers on the web instantly accessible for geo-browsing and exploration".

The technology behind Google Earth is also used for Google Maps , a smaller version of the program. Ohazama hopes to bring the KML updates to Google Maps soon.

Google Earth is a program that assembles satellite imagery of the planet to create a detailed online atlas. Available for Windows 2000 and XP, Macs and Linux machines, it's free to download from Google.