Google Earth on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Back in May, Google Earth for Android was updated with 3D building support on tablets. Despite the additional load of the 3D buildings, the software continued to run remarkably smoothly and continues to be an amazing way to view Google Earth.
At the time, the 3D buildings didn’t show up on phones; it wasn’t even an option. However, on the Galaxy Nexus the 3D buildings are in there and they look great!


There was no update to Google Earth recently, and the buildings still aren’t available on my old phone (a Motorola Droid X), so presumably Google Earth looks at the hardware on your phone before presenting you with that option. If so, that seems like a wise move. Here is what the options panel looks like on the Galaxy Nexus:

I don’t know what the minimal specs are offhand, but a dual-core processor seems like a good place to start. The Google Earth page in the Android market simply says “select phones”, so I don’t have a full list of compatible phones yet. As another added bonus, Google Earth came preinstalled on the phone; I’m quite sure that was not the case on the Droid X.
With the large, stunningly high screen resolution on the Galaxy Nexus (1280×720), Google Earth looks simply brilliant. More phones of this quality and beyond will be coming in 2012, which will make the mobile Google Earth experience even better.
Leave a comment and let us know if your phone supports 3D buildings in Google Earth and we’ll begin compiling a list. Thanks!

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. Justin Kates says

    For some reason Google Earth is showing up in my Android Market as being installed, yet it isn’t installed on my Galaxy Nexus. Anyone else with Android 4.0 experiencing this problem?

  2. Nigel Morris says

    The 3D building feature works fine on my Samsung Galaxy Note

  3. I get the 3D buildings on my HTC EVO3D. Not in stereographic 3D, unfortunately. That would have been amazing.

  4. I’m glad you mentioned this, I hadn’t yet tried the 3D buildings layer on my new Samsung Galaxy S II. It works quite well!

  5. I am having the same problem that Justin posted. Android Market indicates that Google Earth is already installed on my new Verizon Galaxy Nexus and thus does not give me the opportunity to download and install it, but it does not appear anywhere on the phone.

  6. HTC Rezound on Verizon. 3d Buildings available. Look great.

  7. Justin and Kent — I’m sorry to hear that. It should be in the app drawer as “Earth”, and I think it might also be in the “Google” folder on the first home screen.
    Is it not in your app drawer at all?

  8. If you’re sure its installed but can’t find an icon, try this… In search settings, be sure “Apps” is checked, then use Google Search and search for “Earth”. If it shows up as an app, you can at least open it from there.

  9. Google Earth shows as installed on my Galaxy Nexus but its nowhere to be found on the device.

  10. The 3D feature works fine on my HTC.

  11. Here is some clarification to my earlier post about Earth not showing up on my new Nexus Galaxy. Earth is not in the app drawer at all. It shows up as installed in the app market.
    It shows up and works on my wife’s new Galaxy correctly, however. Both phones have the same Android version (4.0.2), Baseband version (I15.09 V.EK05 / I515.EK02), Kernal (3.08-gaaa3611 android-build@apa28 #1) and Build Number ICL53F). I bought them both at the same time from the same store.
    I tried using the search with Apps checked in searchable items (suggested in Gary’s post). Worked on my wife’s phone but not on mine.
    Can anyone help?

  12. Kent, if you have the “uninstall” option in the Market, try that, power down, pull and replace battery, power back up, and reinstall. Don’t have any other ideas.

  13. Thanks Gary for trying to help. Google Earth does show up as an installed app in Android Market, but it does not give the option to uninstall. I’m thinking this is due to it being a Google app. I’m assuming they don’t want you to uninstall those. Anyways, I am still having the same problem.
    I’m thinking about exchanging the phone if I can’t resolve this soon. If it is having this problem, who knows what problem will crop up after my 14 day no questions asked return period ends.
    If anyone has any ideas I’d love to hear them. Thanks.

  14. FIXED IT!!!
    I found this on another blog post:
    Download Astro (file manager) go to /system/app. Scroll down to Google Earth, tap it (not a long press) and select ‘install’.
    This also fixes the market issue with no option to install/uninstall/update etc.
    It would presumably work with any file manager btw.
    This did not work at first. It said that for security reasons my phone was set to block installation of applications not obtained from Android Market. I pressed the Settings button on that screen and checked the “Unknown sources” check box. Retried and it worked. I went back into the security settings and re-unchecked (sp?) the unknown sources check box.
    Thanks everyone who tried to help me out. Hopefully this helps out Justin, YeomanDroid and anyone else having this problem.

  15. Mornin folks i am struggling to load google earth on my galaxy 10.1 tablet anyone have a solution i went to the app market and did get the app there but it says it cannot work on the tab please help me thanx Zet

  16. Tried this fix to get Earth on to my Gnex and although I found the .apk file and installed it, there is still no sign of it appearing in my phone apps.

  17. I have the same issue. I have installed Google Earth APK from \system\app and no change. The google earth is not visible in installed applications and there isn’t any possibility to install it from Google Play.

  18. I have fixed the issue by following the procedure from here:!topic/earth/jOxYCNditzk

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.