Google Earth 6.1 released

Google Earth 6.1 has just been released, and it comes with a handful of very nice features. You can download the new version here.
Changes to “Places”
With our ever-growing collections of saved Places in Google Earth, they’ve added a few tools to help us keep them organized. If you have a folder full of places, you can now click on that folder and sort them all from A-Z. In addition, there is now a small search bow at the bottom of your “places” window that allows you to search within your saved places to find items.
Changes to Street View
Late last year, Google added some big improvements to the Street View mode in Google Earth 6. They’ve now refined it a bit further by allowing you to single click to move to a new location (instead of requiring a double-click) and they’ve improved the zoom feature. Now you’re able to use the slider control on the right side of the screen to zoom in and out with much greater control. Street View in Google Earth also has a slightly wider field of view, similar to that found in Google Maps.


New lengths in ruler
We just showed you some great ways to use the Google Earth ruler a few weeks ago, and it had a minor change with this update. When using the “line” tool, instead of just telling you the length of the line, it will show you the “map length” along with the “ground length” of the line, which can vary slightly.

New fonts for street/place labels
It’s hard to tell exactly what they’ve done, but it appears the fonts have been reduced in thickness (un-bolded, sort of), but also increased slightly in size. In any case, they’re a bit easier to read.
Minor tweaks in the sidebar
Along with the changes to the “Places” section, they’ve revamped some of icons over there, and turned the (+) folder expansions into soft arrows, to make it look a bit less harsh.
New settings in “Tools –> Options”
You can now set the “Units of Measurement” to use your system default (rather than specifically choosing feet vs. meters)
“View –> Reset” menu option
This is still accomplished more easily with the keyboard, but you now have some options to reset your view with the menu. If you’d prefer to reset with the keyboard, you can press “n” to face north, “u” to reset to a top-down view, or “r” to reset both.
“Help –> Upgrade to Google Earth Pro…” menu option
A very minor addition; another bit of encouragement to upgrade to Google Earth Pro. Clicking this simply loads an informational page on what you’ll get in Google Earth Pro.
Updates in Google Earth Pro
Speaking of GE Pro, 6.1 has brought some nice updates to that product on top of the updates listed above including enhancements to the printing layout, movie maker and better support for proxies and SSL certificates. They also tied the elevation profile into the ruler tool, saving a step when working with paths, as shown in the screenshot here. More details about the Google Earth Pro updates can be found on the Google Enterprise Blog.

All in all, it’s a solid update. Nothing groundbreaking, but lots of little enhancements to make the Google Earth experience better for every user.
If you notice any other changes, please leave a comment and let us know.
(via Google Lat Long Blog)

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 still can’t figure out why they mentioned the MyPlaces search highlighting items. It did this before 6.1, and I don’t see any change in the behavior after testing it.
    It’s also sad that the zoom feature is still not tied to the mouse wheel, and the ‘step ahead’ that uses the mouse wheel still doesn’t display images correctly. Also, my GE crashed after using the zoom slider.
    I’m giving this update a weak rating, sadly.

  2. I agree about the Street View mouse zooming. It should pay attention to which way you’re facing, and then zoom or move based on that. Sliding sideways when you try to zoom while perpendicular to the road is kind of silly.

  3. @ Munden – I haven’t installed 6.1 yet, and better SV is the only attraction in the package. But does navigating , say down a street, in 6.1 now have the stability and lack of image distortion as SV in Google Maps? This would have seemed to be a minimum aim in a new GE version.

  4. @ Chris – Navigating is almost the same as before. If you click to move, there is no distortion. If you use the mouse wheel, there is distortion. The only difference is that you only click once to move now, instead of having to click twice as before.

  5. The sort feature needs tweaking. It doesn’t make sense to sort sub-folders together with the placemarks. Sub-folders should be sorted to the top at the top, and then all the placemarks.File managers have been doing it for the last 15 years, so this isn’t rocket science…
    The newer placemark fonts are huge, even if you keep as I do) the font setting to small and label size to 80%. They are ok if you have a couple of placemarks, but with tens or hundreds of placemarks you can hardly see the ground!
    Thankfully StreetView is a bit better than 6.0, which presented very strange pictures. I prefer the 5.1 bubbly (but almost perfect 360º) look anytime.
    Let’s hope 6.1 final has all this issues sorted out.

  6. @ Munden – many thanks. In the OS X 10.5 version of GE 6.0 you can use the up/down/left/right arrow keys, as in SV in Google Maps full screen, to go forward or back and to look around, which is in theory the most comprehensive and convenient navigation. But unfortunately in GE there is far worse image distortion in what appear to be smaller incremental changes to/movement in the image than by using the mouse wheel. It would be nice to have this improved in GE.

  7. It’s a bit odd, that the wikipedia icons are smaller now – they weren’t good to see before when pictures are activated, but now seems for me as I should using a lens

  8. It’s a bit odd, that the wikipedia icons are smaller now – they weren’t good to see before when pictures are activated, but now seems for me as I should using a lens

  9. Paul van Dinther says

    I still dislike the new street view look. For a moment I thought they build a hybrid solution but unfortunately not. So here is an idea:
    This new form of street view is OK when you want to move the view along for a while but when you release the forward button the view should come to a stop at a “bubble” and cross fade to a bubble view which is not distorted.
    If you start moving again. Fade out of the bubble and into the distorted street view while moving.
    Best of both worlds.

  10. To avoid confusion with those of us using other OS, they should stat this is an update for Windows computers.

  11. Downloaded and installed, but the “About GE” says this is Google Earth (beta). What is the current stable release?

  12. @Budd Turner – the GE download page implies that 6.1 supports “PC, Mac, and Linux”, and it would be helpful if you could be more specific.
    However, the ‘advanced’ download section indicates that GE will be updated automatically unless you uncheck. Does anyone know if this is supposed to include a new beta version of GE like 6.1?
    PS don’t forget to uncheck Chrome before you download if you don’t want it.

  13. In some future version of GE, I would really enjoy “lock north” function allowing to keep north pole always to north when moving the globe around.

  14. kalwi — That’s a great idea! I’d like that as well.

  15. How do I find the elevation of a specific address in Lakewood CO.\\Thanks

  16. Although I do not use Google Earth very often, I just updated it and now I see a lot of non-descript gray buildings in 3D. Was that in the update or has that been going on for awhile? Can it be reversed?

  17. GE Free desktop viewer says

    Problem i see a lot free version is that on street view that images become creased. The image is the distorted.
    About the zoom and above problem i tried to look down a path for walking route yesterday. A wooden fence next to path entrance became extended. So look as if no path exists at all. The is because of the fold/crease problem.
    A fresh for the whole image where would be flushed and re download would be good. Better to fix fold/crease so doesn’t happen.
    Also the fold/crease issue goes further meaning is it actually GE at fault 99% sure it is. Where if close GE then delete temporary folder files and restart. Then visit same location even if no spot on. The problem is still there.
    Talk of refresh the view when above the ground (not street view). Many times can happen map do not load at all or correctly blurry or total blurred. Then would be a good time to have a refresh where also will self clean the cache or temp disk area of the data has already got which shows nothing. Only remedy for this i have found is to close then delete temporary folder files and restart.
    Log off server and clearing cache doesn’t help for any of these issues.

  18. i still use GE 6.0 , frankly speaking i show that the 6.1 not a big change..
    so, please i need carfully about the elevation of the earth by using accurate international DTM to improve the elevatione ,,, secondly,, more update for the images around the world

  19. I’m already regretting having upgraded to 6.1 (version 6.1.7601.1) because images do no longer show up in the placemark balloons!
    I mean local images on disk, images referenced to like
    in the balloon description.
    Worked great before (and should work, according KML specs!).
    I see they added a button “Add link” in the placemark description. Somehow they’ve broken something!!

  20. Oops something got lost in my post. Not supporting html I guess. OK try again, I’ll remove the html < brackets
    I was talking about links to an image with an img src tag like:
    img src=”c:/temp/1055.jpg”

  21. Earth Pro User says

    Has anyone else been experiencing camera “bobbles” when creating a tour? I downloaded the new version and ever since then, when I am zooming into a location, the zoom camera “bobbles” a time or two through the process.

  22. Why can’t we lable our “star” places ourselves? the titles given don’t always work.

  23. An enhancement to the ruler would be a straight line distance from point to point.
    Sure would like more options for drawing paths. Like dashed, dotted, cross hatch (w/measurement 50′, 100′, 100m).
    We use GE Pro but would expect more options versus the free version.

  24. I download GE 6.1 and I can’t find it anywhere. All I get is the Google Chrome program. The download link appears to be fxxked up. With all G’s money, can’t the get it right?

  25. I ma so unhappy with this Goggle Earth now. I try to look up my place or other places we have lived with only problems. It is blurry, not able to zoom in other than down to nothing. I want to see from the street my house, to be able to zoom around to see what things look like. I can not check out other places either without seeing nothing. What the heck have you done. You think you have improved it and I do not see what the heck you did to be better. I was able to zoom in to a bubble on the street then go up and down the street and go around the yard. Now I can not even do that. I do not like this anymore. Thanks for making it non existant in our life now. I was thinking we could plan out trips to places after we see if we would want to go there. Now we can not see what it would be. So we will just say no to goggle 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.