Google App Lets Kids Explore Himalayas as 500 Foot Yeti

(Photo: Digital Trends)

(Photo: Digital Trends)

Google has released a new educational and interactive game that allows players to make use of Google Maps Street View to explore the Himalayas while playing as a 500-foot Yeti.

The app, titled “Verne: The Himalayas,” puts the player in control of a 500-foot Yeti named Verne.  Named after Jules Verne, the Yeti is capable of climbing Mt. Everest in seconds, skating on ice-covered lakes, flying hang gliders off the summit of Everest, and becoming friends with yaks, writes Mariella Moon for Engadget.  Users enjoy a third-person game experience.

“A few of us started wondering if this 3D imagery could make learning about the world a bit more fun for kids,” write Amar Gandhi and J.R. Schmidt from Google’s Creative Labs. “We started playing with quick prototypes, and even brainstormed with our own kids to get inspired by their sense of curiosity.”

The app combines an easy to follow mobile game with a 3D Google map of the highest mountain range in the world.

The educational app offers users the chance to learn through a voice that calls out facts as specific points are reached on the map, writes Sebastian Kochan for Alphr.  Players may also come across objects at certain points such as a ceremonial Tibetan horn that allows them to play a song, or an umbrella that lets users fly through the air in order to gain a bird’s eye view of the mountain range.  There is also a zoom feature that offers a Google Street View perspective and allows users to gain a better perspective of certain places that may interest them.

Points of interest include photographs from a number of areas including the Hillary Step, jet packs, hang gliders, balloons, poles with speakers, and 360 degree photos, among other things.

A virtual D-pad is used for movement while one button allows users to jump and interact with other objects when it gets close enough.  However, there is no set path to follow, allowing players the freedom to explore the world at their own pace.

Other companies also continue to innovate in the world of improving education through technology.  Apple has made a push for schools to use tablets in the classroom, while Intel has launched an online gaming education platform for teachers and students.

The app is currently only available for download on Android devices through the Google Play Store.  It is unknown whether the company plans to release more educational apps in the future for children, or any others that make use of Google Maps Street View.