Google makes the new Google Earth Chrome exclusive

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 18, 2017
Updated • Jan 4, 2018
Companies, Google

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?

Google makes the new Google Earth Chrome exclusive
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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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  1. The Dark Lady said on July 9, 2023 at 11:19 am

    Martin, I would appreciate that you do not censor this post, as it’s informative writing.

    Onur, there is a misleading statement “[…] GIFs are animated images …”. No, obviously you don’t seem to have take much notice of what you were told back in March regarding; Graphics Interchange Format (GIF).

    For example, (if you had read my replies within that thread, you might have learnt something useful). I even mentioned, “GIF intrinsically supports animated images (GIF89a)”.

    You linked to said article, [Related: …] within this article, but have somehow failed to take onboard what support you were given by several more knowledgeable people.

    If you used AI to help write this article, it has failed miserably.

    1. E. Fromme said on September 29, 2023 at 1:32 pm

      EMRE ÇITAK posts are useless because they are fraught with inaccuracies and are irrelevant.

  2. KeZa said on August 17, 2023 at 5:58 pm

    AI is stupid, and it will not get any better if we really know how this all works. Prove me wrong..

  3. Database failure said on August 18, 2023 at 5:21 pm

    Martin, [#comment-4569908] is only meant to be in: []. Whereas it appears duplicated in several recent random low-quality non relevant articles.

    Obviously it [#comment-4569908] was posted: 9 July 2023. Long before this thread even existed… your database is falling over. Those comments are supposed to have unique ID values. It shouldn’t be possible to duplicate the post ID, if the database had referential integrity.

  4. Howard Pearce said on August 25, 2023 at 12:24 pm

    Don’t tell me!

    Ghacks wants the state to step in for STATE-MANDATED associations to save jobs!!!

    Bring in the dictatorship!!!

    And screw Rreedom of Association – too radical for Ghacks maybe

  5. Howard Allan Pearce said on September 7, 2023 at 9:13 am

    GateKeeper ?

    That’s called “appointing” businesses to do the state’s dirty work!!!!!

    But the article says itself that those appointed were not happy – implying they had not choice!!!!!!

  6. owl said on September 7, 2023 at 9:50 am

    @The Dark Lady,
    @Database failure,
    @Howard Pearce,
    @Howard Allan Pearce,

    Note: I replaced the quoted URI scheme: https:// with “>>” and posted.

    The current is owned by “Softonic International S.A.” (sold by Martin in October 2019), and due to the fate of M&A, has changed in quality.
    Many Authors of bloggers and advertisers certified by Softonic have joined the site, and the site is full of articles aimed at advertising and clickbait.
    As it stands, except for articles by Martin Brinkmann, Mike Turcotte, and Ashwin, they are low quality, unhelpful, and even vicious. It is better not to read those articles.
    How to display only articles by a specific author:
    Added line to My filters in uBlock Origin:,.home-posts,.home-category-post:not(:has-text(/Martin Brinkmann|Mike Turcotte|Ashwin/))

    By the way, if you use an RSS reader, you can track exactly where your comments are (I’m an iPad user, so I use “Feedly Classic”, but for Windows I prefer the desktop app “RSS Guard”).
    RSS Guard: Feed reader which supports RSS/ATOM/JSON and many web-based feed services.

  7. Anonymous said on September 14, 2023 at 6:41 pm

    We all live in digital surveillance glass houses under scrutiny of evil people because of people like Musk. It’s only fair that he takes his turn.

  8. Anonymous said on September 18, 2023 at 1:31 pm

    “Operating systems will be required to let the user choose the browser, virtual assistant and search engine of their choice. Microsoft cannot force users to use Bing or Edge. Apple will have to open up its iOS operating system to allow third-party app stores, aka allow sideloading of apps. Google, on the other hand, will need to provide users with the ability to uninstall preloaded apps (bloatware) from Android devices. Online services will need to allow users to unsubscribe from their platform easily. Gatekeepers need to provide interoperability with third-parties that offer similar services.”

    Wonderful ! Let’s hope they’ll comply with that law more than they are doing with the GDPR.

  9. sean conner said on September 27, 2023 at 6:21 am

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