One small tweak to Google Maps, one giant time-suck for mankind
The Google Maps team has just torpedoed the productivity of Chrome users with the launch of “Earth View,” a new browser extension that displays a random and beautiful satellite image of the earth’s surface each time the user opens a new tab.
It’s not exactly groundbreaking technology — in fact, it just a marries two existing technologies from Chrome and Google Earth. But the sheer variety of terrains on display, from the schematic street-view of downtown Chicago to a frozen mountain range in Antarctica, makes opening a new tab an oddly hypnotic experience and opening dozens of tabs nearly irresistible.
The app launched with little fanfare on October 14, rapidly climbing the ranks of most downloaded Chrome extensions with more than 50,000 users to date.
You can download the extension for yourself here.