Google Earth 4 Officially Released

Google Earth 4 ScreenshotGoogle Earth 4 is officially released! The beta program began 6 months ago, and now almost exactly 1 year after GE 3 was released, GE 4 is no longer in beta (latest version is 4.0.2722). See the Google Earth home page for details, or just go download GE 4 now. GE 4 has many new features not available in the earlier version. Many of the features have been described in this blog over the past few months. Here are some highlights and why you should definitely consider upgrading.
New Google Earth 4 features:

  • 3D Models – GE 4 supports a new format which allows for models which have textures. It also supports the new 3D buildings layer. The official release of GE includes lots of optimizations to improve 3D viewing.
  • Time Animation – the new time slider appears when KML content has been stamped with time. Read about the new time feature. And, here is a list of the top ten time animations done in 2006 for GE 4.
  • New Look – GE 4 has a much cleaner look than GE 3. It devotes more attention to the main 3D view, and has a new navigation gadget which appears in the upper right corner. There are too many enhancements to list them all. Some notable ones are: Support for radio buttons in KML, network link icons animate when loading, new organized menus, and more GE Options.
  • Controllers – Support for joystick controllers and flight simulator yokes. And, best of all, the new SpaceNavigator (Windows only at the moment, but a Mac driver soon).
  • Regions – GE 4 supports very large image overlays which can be “tiled” or “regionated” so you can view the full detail as you zoom in. See the “Rumsey Historical Maps” in the “Featured Content” layer for an excellent example of this powerful feature.

If you have been following this blog during the past six months, and have been keeping up with the numerous beta releases, you may have seen many of the new features. But, there is so much new content and so many new layers, even I haven’t seen everything. Either way, make sure you have the new release and have fun! Thanks to Google and its fantastic Google Earth team for all the hard work!

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.

PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.


  1. Interesting, Linux version is 4.0.2723, and has been that for a few days now.

  2. I’m suprised that it’s not mentioned that Earth4 vastly widens the number of GPSes supported. Between the new realtime tracking, the new Magellan Explorist support, and nearly tripling the number of Garmins supported, it’s a big step forward in GPS support.

  3. It’s great that google came up with this tool. As a realtor i can show my clients the exact location of the property they want to acquire.

  4. What an amazing tool.
    Remember when it was a 3rd party program “Keyhole” where you overflew earth in a space shuttle.

  5. This software from Google is excellent. I’m glad they are finally out of beta. I’m also happy that Google always has a Mac version of there software, at least most of the time.

  6. Great news! I am browsing digg for the first time and the site looks a log informative!

  7. This is awesome but it seems undercapitalized. Where is the handheld device with a built in GPS and broadband access? Seems to me that such a thing would be the ultimate advertising vehicle.
    1. On my way home from work I want to pick up some Indian food but have no idea if there are any Indian food restaurants on the way.
    2. Walking around as a visitor in a foreign city I can plan my travel to include shops, food, art, hotels, airports, etc.
    I also want:
    3. Addition of real-time data like the location of city buses and their routes, traffic, airport delays and flight info, the length of the checkout line at grocery stores, etc. . .
    4. AI style algorithms to help wade through the mountain of data – i.e. find the cheapest gallon of milk on the way home from work so long as the checkout line is under two minutes.
    Just giving my two cents as a consumer. The google-earth guys are geniuses and I’m sure this stuff is on the way. I see google-earth as the advertising infrastructure that will replace the yellow-pages.

  8. WriterWriter says

    Still very poor rendering of many places in Europe, Inverness in particular, and of Loch Ness and area.
    Obviously a U.S. based company developed this program, as the focus is on the US and places it consideres important.

  9. Anybody working on integrating the Topographic maps from the Internet archive with it.
    I used some Park maps, from the local Park services, which are based on topo maps and combined/corrected (to many switch backs and distortion through print) them with satellite pictures to create some running maps for friends. It’s nice to have an idea that you have to run up to 9000 feet before you have to run it all the way down again.

  10. I do agree that it is kind of sad that Google Earth focuses mainly on US destinations. Things like 3D buildings seems like a headline feature that television shows will talk about. People will be disappointed to see that unless they live in New York or California, they don’t have 3D building data.
    Why hasn’t Google expanded their efforts to collect data? While in every bit amazing, Google Earth still leaves lots of room for improvement in the quality of the data.

  11. Wow, it keeps getting better!

  12. There is already a plugin that adds USGS topo support (rerieved from Terraserver), just search around for it.
    [Edit: You could search for “topo” on GEB. Here’s information on a good one:

  13. @ WriterWriter and Alex,
    What do you expect?! This program is free– you pay *nothing* for it!
    If you want, there are numerous services out there that do what you want, _for a fee_. If you really want that stuff, GO PAY FOR IT! Google in no way owes you any features, and the resources to execute a worldwide 3d scan and hi-res photo repository would be astronomical!
    And really, the area around Loch Ness? It’s “,” first not “”

  14. “Obviously a U.S. based company developed this program, as the focus is on the US and places it consideres important.
    Maybe if people in wherever you lived got off your lazy ***es and did something you would have something just as neat.
    “Still very poor rendering of many places in Europe, Inverness in particular, and of Loch Ness and area. ”
    Google doesn’t take the satellite photographs. It’s something that has allready been done.

  15. well done Google 😀

  16. “And really, the area around Loch Ness? It’s “,” first not “””
    .com does NOT mean an American website. .com is used for websites from anywhere in the world. .us is for American sites.
    If you go to, you would realise that is the international site, with no mention of being an American-localised Google (such as

  17. A far greater percentage of the United Kingdom’s land area is covered with high-resolution imagery than of the United States’ land area. On the European mainland, two ENTIRE COUNTRIES are covered from border to border with high resolution imagery (Germany and the Netherlands).
    Anyone who decries Google Earth as “US centric” (on imagery coverage grounds, at least) is just pissed because their hometown isn’t covered. Try looking a little further afield guys 😛

  18. Haven’t tried google earth for absolutely ages, but this version seems to have a lot more strange graphics glitches, like hokey textures, popping and so on. Also think the textures load somewhat slower. Might be someone leaching my wifi connection though.

  19. Listen to yourselves! “It doesn’t show MY neighborhood with uber high quality!”
    1) Google does not take these pictures, they are just using existing data.
    2) My neighborhood in the US doesn’t have high res images either.
    3) It’s FREE people!! Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
    \\That is all.

  20. I have got a post in german in my blog about this matter.

  21. Rilwan Adam says

    i am from Maldives.
    thanks for the great work.
    i realy enjoy the google earth.
    is it posible for us to get the pictures of SHAVIYANI ATLL full coverage.
    Rilwan Adam

  22. Its GREAT!!!!!! That’s it.

  23. hey google this is so cool all u need now is to be able to look inside of the biuldings …………..

  24. Muhammad Irfan says

    me from Pakistan
    I am so lucky to have Google Earth. I think this is only one option that makes me able to see geagraphical areas all over the world. It ‘s too lovely to see all the places where belonging people living.
    I can see our beloved Places Like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, UK and too many other.
    Simply It’s Great thing

  25. hi i m looking for latest 2007 satellite maps & 3d of pakistan lahore the version i have showing me some years past images how can i get these thanks for nice services

  26. Google Earth is very helpful in the business of real estate here in Costa Rica. The only problem we experience is the fact that there are large portions of Costa Rica that are obscure from clarity on Google Earth. Other than that we are now just trying to incorporate Google Earth in our website for our visitors at BuyingCR

  27. frank bailey says

    I am fed up with forever ‘updating’ software, and am quite happy to use my version G.E. 4.0.2722
    If it aint broke – don’t fix it.
    However, logging on to google earth today, for the first time ever i get loads of mumbo jumbo whenever i click on a Google Earth Community icon.
    Typically its like this:
    $[message_subject] $[message_text]
    with a few links and some text.
    What’s going on?
    (Newer updates generally devour more processing time, and many of the ‘improvements’ are for companies to collect feedback and data for their marketing depts.)

  28. I love Google earth for all my web projects. What I wonder sometimes though is why is the Mac version so far behind the PC one? Still here in Costa Rica especially around Dominical we suffer from poor coverage in Google Earth.

PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.