As a new kind of browser, Google Earth has certainly set some records in terms of growth. Unfortunately, Google isn’t releasing any numbers. Several people have speculated based on the statistics at the Google Earth Community Forums. Right now there are:
- 164,467 total registered users
- 102 registered online
- 1683 unregistered online
Typically, there are 15 to 20 times the registered viewers in the forums who are unregistered. From this, we can estimate there are conservatively 15X the registered users who use the forums. This equates to 2,467,005 forum users. But, one can assume there are many people who don’t even use the forums. Let’s say there are only 5X the forum users who have downloaded Google Earth: that leaves us with a guess at more than 12 Million Google Earth downloads. GE has been out as a beta since June. How long did it take Firefox to get to greater than 10 Million? Is this 12 million user guess reasonable?
Google hasn’t released a Mac Version or a Linux Version. I think this is a mistake. People who use the Mac are very visually oriented, and GE is certainly a very visual program. I would bet the percentage of Mac people who would use GE would be way higher than the equivalent on Windows. Linux is definitely a favorite for the technically oriented. My guess is pretty much every Linux user with a decent graphics card and running a compatible windows system would run GE.
When Mosaic became popular, it was available on several versions of Unix. Every browser since has been released on several OSes. It would be a shame if Google didn’t continue this tradition with their Earth browser. We may not know how many people are using it right now. But, it is certainly already one of the most popular programs in use today. It would gain a lot of credibility and increase its growth if it was available on the most popular alternative OSes.