Google tells users: take a hike! (Or a bike ride!)

The brand-new Google Earth 5.2 does some amazing new tricks

Google announced today Google Earth 5.2, which is now optimized for the needs of outdoor athletes! Specifically, the software is ideal for walkers, runners, hikers and bikers.

You can upload a lot more data from your GPS device, now including tracks (rather than mere points along a track), time stamps, latitude and longitude -- even heart-rate! The addition of tracks means playback on a 3D map is very smooth. Here's an example video uploaded by a Googler who's also a bike enthusiast.

(It's also great for pilots. Here's another Google-generated video showing flight data.)

The new Google Earth also supports Elevation Profiles, so you can see all the ups and downs of your trip, but zoom in at any point in the track and get the elevation data for that spot.

The new Google Earth also has a new embedded browser based on Google's fast Chrome browser.

Google also made improvements to the Google Earth Pro version, including new layers for US parcel data (for tracking packages), demographic data and traffic count data.

Download it here.

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