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Introducing Google Earth

Introducing Google Earth by Chris Richardson

Late last/early this morning, Google launched the highly anticipated full version of Google Earth, the search engine’s stand-alone global map utility. The following is a detailed, blow-by-blow description of the launch provided by Nathan Weinberg.

The post appeared at his blog, InsideGoogle. Nathan was quite impressed with Google’s newest device, and judging by his blog comments, so are many others. With that, here’s Nathan’s account:

Google Earth Launches For Free
Nathan Weinberg

I heard a rumor that Google is about to officially release Google Earth, it’s standalone Windows application that combines satellite imagery with Google Local and Google Maps. Best of all, my source says it is going to be completely free. However, this is purely a rumor, and while the source is reputable, the source is not entirely sure. I will officially stake nothing on this rumor, but smugly reserve the right to claim credit if it proves true. Then again, we’ll know very soon enough.

UPDATE: Confirmed! Thank you, sir. I couldn’t have beaten that article by more than ten minutes, but I’ll take it.

UPDATE 2: So, now that we’ve got that out of the way, the details. Google Earth will be made available at shortly as a free download. In fact, its surprising it isn’t there already. The subscription fee is gone, but a $20 fee will get you Google Earth Plus with more features and even more money will buy even bigger versions of the program.

The program lets you do smooth sailing flybyes of the entire Earth. You can easily fly to any spot on the globe, by entering any associated data, like street addresses, place names or lat/long coordinates. There are overlays that put additional information on the map, like roads, international boundaries, terrain, 3D buildings, crime statistics, schools, stadiums, any number of interesting stuff.

You can do Local searches in the program, with icons on the map and a display on the side showing your results. You can leave notes, called “placemarks” all over the map, so you can remember where all sorts of places are. Searches and placemarks can be saved as bookmarks in “My Places”. Everything can be output in an XML format called KML, that will allow the vast popularity of Google Maps to continue in Earth. You can also email a JPEG of the map, or send a KMZ file if you know the recipient has Earth installed.

Google Earth Plus gives higher resolution images, GPS support, and more sophisticated annotation (like drawing on the map). Online help is available right here.

Screenshot mania!:

google-earth1 (27k image) google-earth2 (31k image)

more images can be seen at this blog. It’s worth it to take a look if you are unsure about downloading Google’s latest tool.

UPDATE 3: The download is available now.

System requirements:

Minimum configuration:

Operating system: Windows 2000, Windows XP
CPU speed: Intel? Pentium? PIII 500 MHz
System memory (RAM): 128MB
200MB hard-disk space
3D graphics card: 3D-capable video card with 16MB VRAM
1024×768, 32-bit true color screen
Network speed: 128 kbps (“Broadband/Cable Internet”)

Recommended configuration:

Operating system: Windows XP
CPU speed: Intel? Pentium? P4 2.4GHz+ or AMD 2400xp+
System memory (RAM): 512MB
2GB hard-disk space
3D graphics card: 3D-capable video card with 32MB VRAM or greater
1280×1024, 32-bit true color screen
Network speed: 128 kbps (“Broadband/Cable Internet”)

I had to download, save, and add “.exe” to the end of the install file, but that’s probably because I’m doing all this as Google is uploading it. I’m sure they’ll fix it, but just be aware of the issue. Also, Googlers, fix the typo on this page (“Googsle Earth”) at the bottom.

Google has put together a Google Earth Sightseeing page with images of famous landmarks, and the KMZ files that will get you there.

About the Author: Chris Richardson is a search engine writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest search news.


Camilla Todd
Camilla Todd is Head of Digital Marketing at WNW Digital and manages Search Engine Optimisation, PPC, Social Media campaigns and Brand Awareness for WNW Digital SEO clients. You can follow her on Twitter @camilla_wnw, email her at or phone on 01392 349580