The Year 2008 in Google Earth

Google Earth had a great year in 2008 thanks to its continued growth in popularity, new features, and an enormous growth in new content both from Google and the people who use Google Earth. According to Google there have been over 400 Million unique installations of Google Earth since it was released in 2005. There were 8 major updates to Google Earth imagery in 2008. The Panoramio photo layer grew by millions of photos thanks to people all over the world. From a broader perspective, Google also put a great deal of effort into expanding and blending technology for both Google Earth and Google Maps. There’s a Google Maps version of Sky, Street View works in Google Earth, Google Earth can now be viewed in a browser along side Google Maps, Google Earth is available on the iPhone, Google Maps gets several layers from Earth, and the list goes on. Also, Google’s 3D Warehouse grew in size (with millions of new models added), and many new features (Street View, more social networking features, plugin support, and more). And let’s not forget the Google Earth file format – KML became a standard.
Read below the fold for a summary of highlighted news and content for Google Earth from 2008 (see also a similar summary from Google Maps Mania):

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. It is perhaps a fine point, but not quite accurate or true to Google’s intent to say the “Google Earth file format…became a standard.”
    KML is not a file format, and we should be thinking of it as more than the Google Earth format…
    “Management and further evolution of KML, the XML specification that Google Earth (Keyhole) developed, was transferred to the OGC international standards organization, of which Google, Microsoft, and others are principal members.”

  2. I know this is off topic, but why did I have to install Chrome when I installed Google Earth just now? I wasn’t given the option to choose not to install, just like I wasn’t given the option to choose not to have icons placed on my desktop and taskbar. Wreaks of Internet Explorer.

  3. Google`s display of coastal towns of South Africa and South Africa in general is dated May 2006 – does a current version exist and how do I acess it. The outdated version (display) is of no use to me

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