Google is making preparations to announce a major new update for its Google Earth service. The company has sent out press invites to attend a media event on April 18, where the company will reveal what it says will be the “new Google Earth.”

The news was first reported by The Next Web, who noted that the invite did not offer any more details or hints about what the new Google Earth will be like. It did mention that the event is being held just four days before the annual Earth Day celebrations on April 22.

The service, which offers a way for anyone to view highly detailed satellite images of the Earth in a simulation of the globe, originally launched in 2001 under the name EarthViewer 3D. Fun fact: the company that made it was called Keyhole, which happened to be funded by the CIA. Google acquired Keyhole and EarthViewer 3D in 2004 and renamed the service Google Earth in 2005. Since then it has added a number of features, including a way to view the solar system and other astronomical bodies, along with integrating Street View from the company’s Google Maps service.

It’s possible Google will show off an overhaul of Google Earth’s user interface next week. We might even see some more virtual reality features added as well. What do you think the new Google Earth will be like? Let us know in the comments!

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