Californian company Wild Sanctuary has dreamed up software that layers recorded sounds over locations in Google Earth. 3,500 hours of soundscapes from all over the world are set to make Google Earth audible as well as visual.

The idea is to zoom-in on a particular area and then have the option to listen to the accompanying sound.

Zoom in on New York and hear the cacophony of taxi horns, on London's Leicester Square for pigeon nuisance and prattling cabbies, on parliament for sententious drivel, and on the rain forest for the sound of falling trees. We'll have lions roaring in Africa, wildebeests and buffalos in the Serengeti, whales up the Thames, and happy slapping in the playground.

Areas could show off their local accents, which would at least be amusing to others.

Wild Sanctuary director Bernie Krause says: "A picture tells a thousand words, but a sound tells a thousand pictures."

Is a sound really worth a million words? I'm not convinced but I do hate the little captions that crop up in Google Earth. At least I can turn my PC's speakers off.

Dr Krause's recordings include more than 15,000 animal noises, and sounds from cities, deserts, mountains and the oceans.

This all sounds very exciting, and I'm all for it. But one of Google Earth's problems is that it's so out of date. The sounds therefore will have to be very generic, and as globalisation marches onwards everywhere will sound like everywhere else very quickly.

And that will sound like the noise of a billion ringtones.