This is what it looks like when Google Earth doesn’t quite get it right.
Google Earth may not be as useful as its sibling service, Google Maps, but it’s immeasurably cooler. Maps take you where you need to go; Google Earth takes you where you want to go—not just to some dumb restaurant but to far off lands and unreachable peaks and even to the ocean’s floor. It’s all so detailed and fluid that you can forget what it is, exactly, you’re looking at—not our planet but an incredibly complicated 3D model of it, assembled entirely by algorithm and code. As we see here, sometimes that reality shows through.
Google Maps also doesn’t have the super awesome Google Earth flight simulator. The height of cool (one of many) in high school was to start at SFO, pull up into a complete 180-degree loop on take-off, and land on the same runway. Then you could take off again and explore the Bay Area (enable 3D buildings and you could fly under the Golden Gate). “Driving” down Telegraph Ave. through a green HUD was surreal.