Google Earth recently celebrated its 10th birthday. In homage to it, we've decided to gather some of the strangest places and images you can find using the Google Earth Android app. Inexplicably blanked-out parts of the map, offensively-shaped buildings, and (of course) crop circles abound in our fun list of the weirdest and coolest Google Earth secrets you can find.
To help you find these awesome Google Earth secrets, we've included the co-ordinates in brackets next to them: just type exactly what we've written in the brackets into the Google Earth search bar. Happy secret-hunting!
The Badlands Guardian, Alberta, Canada (50 0 38.20 n 110 6 48.32 w)
It's a testament to the power of Google Earth that in 2006 someone used it to discover an geographical feature that has since come to be officially known as the 'Badlands Guardian'. This spectacular feature shows a remarkably life-like face that resembles that of a Native American. Look closely enough, and you can see that he/she is actually wearing a pair of earphones (or, if you want to be boring and literal, you can see that it's a road).
A whole lot of hippos, Katavi National Park, Tanzania (6 53 53.00 s 31 11 15.40 e)
From afar this looks like maggots swimming around in muck or something even more nasty, but actually it's a large hippo pool in Tanzania. To be fair, it's probably about as fetid and mucky as what we suggested it looks like, but from the safe distance of Google Earth it looks pretty amazing.
Swirling desert pattern, Egypt (27 22 50.10 n 33 37 54.62 e)
UFOs, extra-terrestrial communications satellites, remnants of a mysterious prehistoric civilization? When this image emerged on Google Earth, it caused a little bit of a speculative stir, until it turned out to be a giant art installation called 'Desert Breath', dating back to only 1997. It looks even more amazing from close up than from afar. The structure isn't likely to be around forever though, as eventually the sand will fill in the man-made craters.
Firefox crop circle, Oregon (45 7 25,87 n 123 6 48.97 w)
Mozilla's super-popular browser has managed to infiltrate Google's own app and use it as a means of self-promotion by making a 45,000 sq ft. crop circle in a field in Oregon. The logo was created to celebrate the 50-millionth download of Firefox, and it can be clearly seen in Google Earth. Google doesn't seem to mind though, as the crop circle is now even labelled in the app.
Giant target, Nevada (37.563936, -116.85123)
This giant crosshair aimed at a huge area of land in Nevada has an unsettling effect - is it the spot where all-powerful inter-dimensional beings will launch a world-destroying meteorite? Do we need to start designing the world's largest trampoline to protect ourselves from this threat? Nope, it's just a regular man-made target for man-made bombs - a nice allegory about how humanity is it's own biggest threat.
Have you found any cool places or secrets on the Google Earth Android app? Let us know in the comments and we'll add it to our list later.