Google makes the new Google Earth Chrome exclusive

Google unveiled a redesigned version of Google Earth today which, unlike its predecessor, is a web application. While that sounds good on first glance, as you may run Google Earth now without having to install software or an application first, the new version is limited to Google Chrome currently on the desktop.

The desktop version of Google Earth is still offered on the official site though, so that non-Chrome users may download and use the application in its older form.

Google notes that the new Google Earth works in Chrome on the desktop only. While that means support on Chromebook devices, and also better support on Linux, it also means that the new version of Google Earth is not available for users who run non-Chrome desktop browsers.

Changing the user agent does not help right now to get the new Google Earth to work in other browsers.

The company published a new application for Android which replicates the functionality of the new Google Earth.

Google Earth for Chrome

new google earth

The new version of Google Earth does not replicate all the functionality of the desktop version yet. The interface and functionality has close resemblance to Google Maps, but you will notice that a lot of features and tools are missing from the implementation.

You may use the mouse and mouse wheel to rotate the globe, zoom in or out, and use the various controls offered on the web page.

The start page lists a handful of options on the left:

  1. Search -- jump directly to a location. Simply type the name of a location, get a list of suggestions, and click on any to jump directly to the location on Google Earth.
  2. Voyager -- features "interesting places and locations" on Earth.
  3. I'm feeling lucky -- takes you to a random location on Earth.
  4. My Places -- an option to add places, KLM or KMZ files. You may need to enable KML importing in the settings.
  5. Share -- Share the current location on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or as a direct link for other services and messaging formats.

The new Google Earth is a work in progress, and it shows. You may get error messages when you use certain features on the site. I could not get the Voyager feature to run at all after the initial screen that is displayed when you click on the icon.

google earth error

Google Earth would always throw a 404. That's an error, error message stating that balloon.html was not found on the server.

You may run into other issues. KML support is not fully implemented yet for instance.  Google acknowledges that most "creation tools" are missing that users of classic Google Earth have at their disposal.

Features that Google mentions specifically are:

While Google plans to implement many of the missing features in the future, it is unclear whether some features will not make the cut.

Closing Words

The new Google Earth is not a replacement yet for the classic desktop application. It is fine for some basic searching, browsing, and looking around though. The experience that the new Google Earth web application offers is quite good, at least from a usability point of view.

It is easy to use, and the performance is good as well.

Major downside, apart from the features that it does not support, is that it is Chrome exclusive currently. This, like many other things, will probably change in the future.

For now though, you can only use the new Google Earth if you use Chrome or Android.

Now You: What's your take on the new Google Earth?

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Google makes the new Google Earth Chrome exclusive
Google unveiled a redesigned version of Google Earth today which can be run only in the Google Chrome web browser and no other browser.
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Responses to Google makes the new Google Earth Chrome exclusive

  1. satpamper April 18, 2017 at 6:55 pm #

    I don't like how the new applications are going now. they're all going browser based.
    That including those new electron applications.
    The reason I don't use Hangout is because it doesn't have any desktop application.
    Even though I seldom use it, I'll just hope Google Earth will not be ported to browser based only.

  2. ddk April 18, 2017 at 7:10 pm #

    2 things I'm liking. Street view is highlighted, you know beforehand where coverage is.
    They have a link on the main menu to DL Google Earth for desktops, appears they'll continue development with that.

  3. Jarod Baines April 19, 2017 at 1:30 am #

    Tried running it with the latest version of Chrome and get nothing but WebGL errors. Browser based apps are the bomb :-)

  4. Tony April 19, 2017 at 3:36 am #

    Pass. If it won't work on non-Chrome browsers, I'm not interested.

  5. Kerr McGee April 19, 2017 at 6:58 am #

    It's dead to me if it only runs in Chrome. I will never install that garbage on my machine, so I guess I'll stick with Desktop. At least it works well (thanks to Keyhole's good roots, not Google dev's).

  6. ilev April 19, 2017 at 7:37 am #

    After the first 404. That's an error, the web app ran just fine (Chrome 58.0.3029.68 beta (64-bit))

  7. George April 19, 2017 at 12:30 pm #

    A program that's Chrome-only... how pathetic. I guess it's all downhill now for Google.

  8. JoeBidendidWTC April 19, 2017 at 7:19 pm #

    I think its a dick move to make Chrome exclusive. This right here is why I only use exclusively open source. OSM for the WIN.

    You friendly,
    NWS API dev :D

  9. Larry April 19, 2017 at 9:58 pm #

    Add to the list:
    No altitude that changes while hovering over areas
    No date of street view image

  10. asdf April 20, 2017 at 1:15 pm #

    Google says, "It's my way or the highway".

    It's the highway then.

  11. Danny April 22, 2017 at 12:52 am #

    My laptop had a problem and i lost my Google Earth. I reloaded it but lost all of my pinned places/ locations. Is there a way to get the version of Google Earth I had? Same computer and Google account.

  12. Arcturus April 22, 2017 at 2:53 pm #

    Without the distance measuring tools it doesn't exist for me.

  13. geomania April 23, 2017 at 1:07 am #

    Concur with Arcturus

  14. geomania April 23, 2017 at 1:08 am #

    Don't like the faked in photo overlays on the satellite images...didn't see how to remove them

  15. itsMe April 24, 2017 at 12:17 pm #

    I agree with the others. Chrome exclusive? Go fu** yourself. It's not useful in any way anyway

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