Timeline Example: I thought this timeline from a New York Times graphic is much better than the timeline in Google Earth:
- Easier to grab and move the jaws, in GEarth the jaws are too small
- The play button only allows the jaws to move together, in GEarth you can press play and the far side of the jaws will move which is too complex for users to understand and utilise IMHO
- The time labels are simple and clear whereas in GEarth the labels are more fussy
- The blue shading communicates 'this is the time range' in a clear way and its semi transparent so you can see the graph below it.
The GEarth timeline remains high on my list of things Google should really fix in GEarth.
Tour Example: I think the tour feature of GEarth is one of its strongest features allowing user in presentations or promotional film clips. I came across a film sequence in a TED talk which has a form remarkably like a tour:
(BTW the clip is fascinating and well worth watching in full)
The clip 'zooms' down from large to small scale and at the destination scale the camera moves around a 3D object which is then manipulated in various ways to illustrate the relationships of neurons. Compare it with this GEarth tour:
The building clip has a poor frame rate and the building isn't manipulated in some way (like showing the inside rooms) but otherwise, the format is exactly the same. I'm in the middle of researching to best design tours at the moment and the Seung clip is a lovely illustration of how the results of my studies will not just apply to GEarth and other Virtual Globes but to any 3D visualisation system where zooming across scales in a film clip is important.
With the Seung clip I defined where it should start, see how to get a YouTube video to start where you want it.