Regular readers will know that I am pretty much in love with everything to do with Google Earth although the same cannot be said about Google itself. However, even the stains left by the search giant blacklisting the entire Internet last weekend or it trying to grab all your rights via the Chrome browser get washed away this week with the release of Google Ocean.

As part of the new Google Earth 5.0 software, Google Ocean promises to let you dive beneath the surface and visit the deepest part of the ocean, the Mariana Trench. Or how about exploring the ocean with top marine experts including National Geographic and BBC? If that has not whet your appetite, then try learning about ocean observations, climate change, and endangered species. yep, Google Ocean simply does for the sea what Google Earth did for the rest of the planet by allowing you to discover new places from the comfort of your armchair. You can surf, dive, and travel hot spots and shipwrecks. It's truly amazing.

John Hanke, Director of Google Earth and Maps, says "it marks the moment when Google Earth becomes much more complete — it now has an ocean... we have a much more detailed bathymetric map (the ocean floor), so you can actually drop below the surface and explore the nooks and crannies of the seafloor in 3D. While you're there you can explore thousands of data points including videos and images of ocean life, details on the best surf spots, logs of real ocean expeditions, and much more."

But apart from the ocean, what else is new in Google Earth 5.0? Well Google has added the ability to view historical imagery so you can move between different periods of time at the same location. You can also take advantage of a touring function to create shared fly-through tours which you narrate yourself using a simple 'record' button as you go.

I'm not so impressed by the 3D Mars addition, as is taking the concept of Google Earth a little too far perhaps. Still, you might bump into one of Gary McKinnon's little green men while you explore I guess.