Updates to all versions of Google Earth coming this summer?

google-earth-iphone.pngThe announcement of Google Earth Builder at Where 2.0 last week was certainly great news for companies that can take advantage of the enterprise capabilities of it, but it may have some great side effects for the rest of us as well. As we mentioned briefly in our announcement post, there are some things coming for which we don’t yet have an explanation.
In particular, I’ve heard from numerous sources that data from Builder can be accessed from “all computers, tablets and smartphones”. What does that mean exactly?
During the presentations I attended at Where 2.0, Google repeatedly compared the security model of Google Earth Builder to that of Google Docs. In particular, you can choose to keep data private, make it fully public, or grant access to specific users via their Google Account credentials.
For Google Earth on your computer, it almost certainly needs an update. Despite how connected Google is, there is no log-in of any kind for standard Google Earth users, and therefore no way to grant users access to specific layers based on their Google Account info. Therefore, it seems like almost a sure bet that they’ll be adding a “log-in” feature to Google Earth in the next few months. I have three hopes for that:
1 — That it’s optional. While a lot of good could be done from it, part of the beauty of Google Earth is that you simply open it and it runs. Requiring a log-in from every users would certainly hinder that. UPDATE from Frank: Not only that, but a no-login option MUST be there for off-line Google Earth use. An important feature!
2 — That it ties to Google Latitude. It’d be nice to see (and interact with) your friends on Google Latitude from within Google Earth. While it’s probably possible now with some creative use of the Latitude API.
3 — That “My Places” will sync to the cloud. As I use different machines during the day (desktop, laptop, netbook, tablet), all of my data stays in sync automatically because of some great software like Dropbox, Evernote, Gmail, etc, but there is no way to have your Google Earth Places automatically sync between machines. That would be a great feature to have.
For tablets and phones it’s a similar situation. While the program could likely determine who you are based on other credentials on your phone (especially on Android), it’s doesn’t appear to have that kind of connectivity yet. With that in mind, I expect we’ll see updates to all of their mobile products in the coming months. In particular, I think that Google Earth on the Xoom is excellent, but there’s so much more it could do.
The update may only consist of user management to support the new Google Earth Builder data, but hopefully they also add some of the features that Frank mentioned a few months ago.
Assuming updates are indeed coming, what would you like to see them add? To put it another way, what do you think is the biggest shortcoming of Google Earth on your platform of choice?

About Mickey Mellen

Mickey has been using Google Earth since it was released in 2005, and has created a variety of geo-related sites including Google Earth Hacks. He runs a web design firm in Marietta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two kids.

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. I would like to see GE 6.0 supported on Mac OSX 10.4, and at the very least GE 5.2 continue to be supported on this robust OS where GE runs well.
    Any log in should be optional. One of the beauties of GE is how it just opens up, yet keeps personal settings and places stored. I am sure that Google would see the tedium of a universal log in as inhibiting the ordinary users linking to places/businesses.

  2. – regedit: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Google\Google Earth( Plus)\KMLPath
    – change your default KML dir to a something else (with no huge tmp files in it)
    like “c:\Users\1\AppData\LocalLow\Google\GoogleEarth\kml\”
    – synch it with SugarSynch (or something else)

  3. Get back to work the #flyto, #balloon and #balloonFlyto features of the links within Google Earth 6 balloons.

  4. I’d like to save different layer visibility schemas

  5. As long as we’re dreaming, I’d like the ability to turn off the ocean surface and see the coast as a continuous slope.

  6. GE is horribly slow with layers such as roads enabled, and crashes it sometimes (esp. when zooming out/tilting).
    What I’d def. like to see is some kind of log-in feature as mick suggested, with a synchronized “My places” folder across all platforms (GE, GE plugin, maps, and mobile if possible).

  7. I would like the ability to draw circles in the basic version. I’d also like to see 3D buildings in the phone app.

  8. Awesome article. It’s fascinating to see how mapping programs are evolving. I feel like professional GIS software will eventually become more commonly seen on tablets, but on phones – that seems like a long shot to me!

  9. I would also like to see the login option be an optional feature on the updated Google Earth. My kids love it. It’s so educational and the simplicity of click and “play” is fantastic.

  10. What is wrong with just UP-TO-DATE photography? It has been years since I made improvements to my house but in GE it looks just the same 🙁

  11. I’d like a 64 bit Linux version…

  12. I would like to be able to place icons for my favorite layers on top toolbar so I can easily turn them on and off without having to navigate through sub-menus.
    Also would like better control for road navigation routing – mainly ability to drag the the route via additional point like in google maps.

  13. Sometimes there are too many labels. One place can have like, 30 identical labels to it.

  14. Allowing of .kml files on the iPhone/iPad.

  15. Alan Lindsey says:

    GE plugin for iOS devices would be huge.
    Getting the plugin up and running on Linux is also important for developers testing their GE API products.

  16. Searching places (KMZ) and layers is sorely missing. Allow user to select places (or all those visible) and search for a text string. Of course the concept of a selection set is missing, forwhich one might want labels and/or symbology to change. But at least for example, let me load up a point KMZ then step through the points with text that match (in the Name or Description) using a small dialogue box (Next-Last navigation).

  17. Phototextured 3D buildings on mobile devices like tablets, definitely.

  18. Google Earth works with a lot of GPS tracking software programs too.

  19. Dazaster says:

    Better DirectX use, better progammable controler interface, more speed, some sort of “streetview pasted onto landscape” type option so you can use a joystick to bank and soar like Superman all over the globe and fly seemlessly through any town and city.

  20. Hello G.E. …
    I am rather disappointed with the version I have been using…… .2197.
    Google Earth is showing up in Google Sky…any markings that I put on Earth shows in Sky.
    The Street Level is like being in a Mirror Room at the Fair…stretching signs/etc.
    Sometimes, Street Level doesn’t even come on until you have tried several times.
    I have to say, I prefer the older version that you could get low and follow a train track, a street with ease…I have not like the performance of the camera or the latest stick figure.
    I know you can do better…go back to the basic and revamp it.
    Today I have removed the version I had and I re-downloading the same to see what happens.
    Vancouver, Canada.

  21. I just tried the newest version on my tabler (yes, an iPad) and I´m amazed! I didn´t use google earth for more than a year because before it always seemed to me that here where I live in Bangkok it’s not even close to accurate and was way too slow to use. But now: In my face! amazing! Would love to walk outside at the right time and wave a big fat flag 😀

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.