Google has just released a capability to perform searches for relevant Google Earth content based on your current view inside GE. You don’t have to download a new version of GE – it works automagically with GE 4. This new search capability adds powerful capabilities and gives even greater credibility to the KML format. Basically, what it does is search for relevant KML files with your search keywords based on your current view inside GE. And, it searches KML files anywhere available on the Internet. Right now, the feature is a little hidden (I encourage Google to make this feature more visible). But, here is an example of how to use it: Look at the US from space, and enter “Google HQ” in the “Search->Fly To” input field. After you hit “Enter” the results will show 10 local business results marked by red placemark icons like normal. But, if you scroll down in the search results a new folder appears (unhighlighted) which says “Web results“. Here you will see the first 10 results as green placemarks matching “Google HQ” from KML files on the web. Try turning on the first one – double click it to fly there. This will show you the Googleplex in GE. Click on the placemark to read a description which includes a link to the KML file which may contain other information and placemarks.
This new feature in Google Earth was announced today by Chikai Ohazama at the Google Maps API blog. He says the capability will also be implemented for Google Maps. Now we know why last month Google suggested people include KML files in their sitemap files describing files on their web servers. Using a sitemap you can better describe the location of KMLs so Google’s search engine can add it to their databases.
Some other search examples to try:
Search for “Anchorages” while looking at the Caribbean
Search “Lord of the Rings” while looking at New Zealand
Search “Olympic stadiums” while looking at Europe
This feature really needs to be more prominent. I can understand not wanting to put up the placemarks by default when doing the search. However, Google should add an option to allow advanced users to show Web Results by default when performing searches. Right now you have to go through an awkward process of scrolling down in the results window and turning things on to see the web results.
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.
This function doesn’t work with others languages system than english. ( I work GE with french system language)
English and Japanese are the only languages supporting this new function.
It won’t work if you use German, Spanish, French or Italian.
Good stuff. I just submitted our XML feed, so hopefully those files will show up in there shortly.
Spanish works for me, and so does German. What query are you trying to do that you think it doesn’t work?
doesn’t work (french GE version) : “Google HQ” -> no results
My memory could be incorrect, If not in error the older versions of GE had an option “search within model”.
It would be nice if GE would re-instate that feature for models that have a long list of placemarks.
For example: a list of county parcels with multiple fields in the description could be searched for owner, parcel ID, or any other specific attribute.
The thing that I don’t understand is why searching in Google Earth is so bad! If I use your example and search for ‘Google HQ’ NONE of the first results are actually Google’s headquarters! I find that, in general , searching for place in Google Earth is completely worthless (unless I need to find a place of business).
The KML stuff is cool, and perhaps these extra results will start to make the search function useful.
I came across a google custom search engine for Google Earth & Maps at http://www.globefeed.com/google_earth_maps_search.asp