Timeline for the end of the Google Earth plugin in Chrome

Last September Google announced that they would eventually drop support for NPAPI in Chrome, a key technology behind the Google Earth plugin. Then in September this year, they released a 64-bit version of Chrome without support for NPAPI and by extension, the Google Earth plugin. However, it was still unclear exactly when support would be discontinued in the 32-bit version. We also wrote a post showing you how some sites have decided to drop the Google Earth plugin in favor of other technologies with a more certain future.

On Monday, the Chromium Blog posted a more specific timeline for the phasing out of NPAPI. See the full details here.

In summary:
From January 2015, the plugin will be blocked by default, but users will still be able to enable it.
From April 2015, it will be much harder, although still possible, to use the plugin.
From September 2015, NPAPI support will be permanently removed from Chrome and it will be impossible to use the Google Earth plugin in Chrome.

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.


  1. I wonder if Google will produce WebGL based plugin instead of current one.
    There is a lot of good stuff based on GE Plugin (http://gefs-online.com/), with which i’m addicted.

  2. Google Earth API (and hence plugin) stopped being a focus for Google about 3 years ago. The last API Release was what, January 2012?

    It’s fairly obvious when a software company moves it’s developers & attention elsewhere. The releases start spacing out 3 months, 6 months, a year…. EOL.

    However, there are some pretty exciting projects in this space which aren’t Google-powered…

    WebGl Earth 2 – http://blog.klokantech.com/2014/07/webgl-earth-2-leaflet-compatible.html
    CesiumJS – http://cesiumjs.org/
    OpenLayers3 + CesiumJS – http://blog.klokantech.com/2014/11/ol3-cesium-third-dimension-for.html

  3. The latest release of Chrome, 39.0.2171.71 (64-bit) appears to break the Google Earth plugin.

  4. I wish they wouldn’t do away with the plugin because I don’t want NUKEMAP3D to go away. It’s fun.

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