New Version of Google Earth 4 Beta

[Update 15-Sep 1025 ET: Several new items added in blue. Also, even newer version to fix some problems.]
A new version of the Google Earth 4 Beta is out! If you go to the Google Earth download page you can download GE 4 and get the latest version of GE 4 Beta (4.0.2091 for Windows, and 4.0.2093 for the Mac). File size is actually a little smaller at 14 MBytes. (NOTE: doing a “Check for Update” in the application will NOT get you the new version – you have to download from Google as if it were your first time for GE 4) Here’s the scoop on the significant new features (since the last beta) from release notes and observation):

  • As I predictedJapanese Language Support – Google has made a big effort with this release to support Japanese content. Go to the “Options” under “General” to make your language selection. Now English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, and Japanese.
  • As mentioned earlier today there are many new layers for Japan including 3D Buildings for many cities in Japan.
  • Caching of 3D models (new Collada format) to improve performance
  • Improved printing option for turn-by-turn driving directions with satellite imagery
  • Support for flight controllers – word of caution – if you have a joystick or flight controller (yoke and rudders for flight simming) and you install this new version of GE, the Earth might be rotating around when you bring it up. You may need to adjust the trim on your controller or calibrate it to get it to stop. But, on the plus side you can now use your joystick/flight yoke to fly in Google Earth using the fly mode (Ctrl-G to turn on, Ctrl-T to go back to normal). Very cool!
  • KML Time Tag and Interface – This is the feature many of us have been waiting for. It’s a feature allowing data to be time stamped and presented in GE according to some sort of interface. As soon as I get more details on how it works I’ll let you know. Check out this review of the new time gadget feature and example.
  • I imagine there are a lot of fixes from the last version not in this list.
  • Undocumented new feature: when you load an image overlay you get a slick icon showing it’s loading an image.
  • The desktop icon for GE is a little more refined
  • GE Pro support HDTV movie recording
  • Support for Web Mapping Service(WMS) image/data overlays (now in free version too) – Note: OgleEarth explains why this is important.
  • Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) coordinate system grid overlay

There are also some developer notes for the new Time tags: <TimeStamp> & <TimeSpan>.
The new GE 4 Beta for Plus and Pro is also available. I’ll write a separate story reviewing the application after I play with it more. Getting this out now so folks can start playing!
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About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.


  1. nav controls go haywire and earth/camera start a constant rotation as soon as i plug in my joystick. It’s as if the calibration is way off but other games/programs work fine and control panel shows perfect calibration. Any ideas?

  2. And not just Japanese language support – Japanese ROAD support! Google Earth has just become 1000 times more useful to anyone living in Japan. The outlines of cities and towns are also accurate now.

  3. I don’t know if this is related to the layer update or the new version, but city names appear a lot sooner now when zooming in.

  4. I just noticed that India is now displayed with state borders, and so are many other nations. I saw this only after updating to the latest beta. Also, the major airpots in the cities around the country are identified (this was there in the previous beta).

  5. Can anyone tell me if the beta version has high quality satellite imaging for any city in the globe?

  6. I have a problem with my Google Earth, all the city names appear as little squares for some reason. And then when you click on them, the descriptoion of the city appears in what I’m pretty sure is Japanese. Can someone help me set this ino english

  7. Rijul,
    To set your language in Google Earth, go to the GE “Options” (under the menu “Tools” in Windows, or “Preferences” on Mac OSX). Under the “General” tab look for “Language settings”.

  8. about Syria,speceficAleppo city..sorry but its not clear and the photos is very far,,hope if u care about it,,thanks alot..:)

  9. jake jkjk says:

    i have problem with google earth as soon as it loads all kinds of colored lines show up all over the screen please help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. please i want more picture more resolution mor update picture more love google company

  11. Saqib Bashir says:

    I am using Google Earth since one year. at the moment my version is 4 Beta (4.0.2091). My question is,after how long google Earth loads new (Latest) images of my aria (Rawalpindi,Pakistan)?
    because what i see, is old pictures,any how GE is highly useful software to watch places, where i cant go by foot OR program my HUNTING,CAMPING and traveling. Thanks for this WONDERFUL world of Google Earth.

  12. I hope from google earth to improve the quality of images in all syria and spectialy in lattaquia towards the country because it’s very interssting to view the landscape
    with all my respect

  13. Neil Hodson says:

    I have been using google earth quite happily for a year or so. I tried to update to the new version. However it wont load at all. It freezes on initialisation and the whole computer freezes up. I uninsatalled the files and started again but the same thing happened. Is there any way now of downloading the previous version (which works).

  14. Like Rijul,I have a problem with my Google Earth, all the Japanese kanji names appear as little squares for some reason.
    I actually want to get Japanese Layers.
    I have changed the program language to Japanese, I have even changed the PCs regional language to Japanese.
    But alas, all I get are little squares instead of kanji.

  15. John Schmitt says:

    I have the reverse problem to everyone else it seems – I am travelling in Tokyo and upgraded my google earth – now all the subway station and names appear in Canji and as I can’t read it – google earth has become useless to me to help find my way around. Can anyone help turn it back into English aphabet please???

  16. Johh: Google Earth’s subway layer has always only been available in Kanji (it was from a database given to Google by Japan). Google suggested you try searching for other resources, and found found this KMZ file you can use:

  17. how i change google earth from arabic to english

  18. Danny Turner says:

    I updated at one time and had a new map with my new house on it, then a couple of mounths later I did another update and my house was gone I was back to the older map. My house was built the summer of 2005 and as I have said I know you have the map with my house on it so why can’t I get it????
    Danny Turner

  19. The default language somehow changed to japanese or asian. I can’t change it back. I’ve tried changing it through tools, Options, general, language, english then restarting. please help.

  20. babul baloch says:

    google earth is one of the most best software.i am very happy to use this kind of software to improve my knowledge.

  21. I like google earth i have been using it since it came out its very awsome.

  22. Jett Allen Smith II says:

    I am from the USA, have lived and worked in the middle east for 25 years and my new adopted home is southern Spain. I find google earth great to revisit many of the places I have been but I would like to see an up to date image. My present image is 2005. Is there a later image available?

  23. I am from the USA, have lived and worked in the middle east for 25 years and my new adopted home is southern Spain. I find google earth great to revisit many of the places I have been but I would like to see an up to date image. My present image is 2005. Is there a later image available?

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