Search in Google Earth

The mapping data in the desktop version of Google Earth is currently a separate database from that in Google Maps. The Mobile version of Google Earth was recently given a complete rewrite and now uses the Google Maps data as its source.

In the past, Google would periodically update the Google Earth mapping data from the Maps database, but as far as we can tell that has not happened for at least a year. This means that the street data in Google Earth is now significantly less accurate than the data in Google Maps. However, the search function in Google Earth appears to use the same search engine as Google Maps. This means that even when a road has not been put into Google Earth, it can still be found via the search function if it exists in Google Maps. An example of this is
Lunga St, Livingstone, Zambia which I added to Google Maps in September using Google Map Maker. If you search for it in Google Earth, it finds it and displays it in the correct location even though it does not show in the ‘roads’ layer.

The same is true for many other features found on Google Maps that are not visible by default in Google Earth. Many business locations added to Google Maps using Google My Business do not show in any layer in Google Earth, but can be found using search.

Another street I named recently is Sichango Road. If you search for ‘Sichango Road’, Google Earth finds it correctly. If you search for ‘Sichango Road, Livingstone, Zambia’, Google Earth says ‘We were not able to locate the address’. If you search for ‘Sichango Rd, Livingstone, Zambia’, it does not find the road itself, but does find some nearby businesses.

Lunga St
Lunga St, Livingstone, Zambia can be found through a search even though it is not in Google Earth’s street data.

About Timothy Whitehead

Timothy has been using Google Earth since 2004 when it was still called Keyhole before it was renamed Google Earth in 2005 and has been a huge fan ever since. He is a programmer working for Red Wing Aerobatx and lives in Cape Town, South Africa.

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 mentioned before that Google in the last several years have been focusing less on Google Earth another useful product they are killing in order to imitate Facebook with Google Plus.

    Google only cares about social media stuff now. That is their main focus because of mobile phones taking over which I hate but the industry wants it that way.

    Computers are a dying breed due to industry greed luring people into monthly payments for every thing saying it is *simpler* at the cost of freedom.

    I wish Google would go back to it’s old self of providing useful products and services instead of their current agenda of social mediaising us.

  2. In fact the lack of responses shows to me a lot of people use phones to read these sites and you cannot see as much on a phone. WEbsites often dont’ load all the way so it sucks for reading lengthly articles or scrolling very far.

    A study shows that most websites people barely make it to the half way mark on the scrolling and often don’t finish an article so when they comment they often ask things the editor already mentioned!!!

  3. Have they given up on GE? No updates in 13 months now.

  4. In making over 150 Google maps and associated KML files of historic and scientific events for MyReadingMapped, I would check many locations I was plotting in my master Google map by confirming the actual location in Google Earth 3D because seeing it in 3D was more accurate than the top down 2D Google Map. In doing the search in both Google Map and Google Earth indicated that the two programs did not use the same data base because many times the location would be easily found in one program but not the other, or vice-versa.

    As for Google Earth’s lifespan as a stand-alone program, I think it is fading. The new Google Map is social network based and so is the new My Map platform. Since Google dropped photos from My Map generated KML files it seems that the emphasis is on the two versions of Google Map because the mobile device technology can now handle Google Map and My Maps. Having adjusted my maps and my Blogger site for My Maps and mobile devices I am seeing greater usage by mobile devices. On December 8, 2014, I had a day when mobile jumped to 38% of the day’s traffic. Android (15%), Linux (8%), iPhone (7%), iPad (7%), compatible (1%). Which was my best day to that date for Android devices by far. In the past my mobile usage ranged between 12% and 16%. Now it ranges between 22% and 32%. However I have yet to see and increase by millennials who are only 11% of my audience. The greater share is between ages 25 and 45. I find this all interesting during a time when Google’s algorithm change has cut my visits by as much as 30%.

    If my guess is right, I think the future of Google Earth, Google Map and My Map will all be part of Google Plus. Why? I have a Google Plus account that my web site automatically uploads new and edited posts to. My blog MyReadingMapped has had 391,000 pageviews, my combined 150 maps are nearing the one million mapview mark, however, my MyReadingMapped Google Plus page has 4,306,248 views despite the fact that I have only 27 Google Plus followers. I never paid much attention to my Google Plus page, however I ran across the stat the other day and was shocked at how high it was. Now that the maps and site have adapted to mobile, I am going to have to spend more time focusing on Google Plus.

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.