New 3D causing Street View crash in New York and San Francisco

Last week Google released new improved 3D for New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area, which they announced on Google+. We had a look at the New York update and GEB reader Piotrek noted that when you enter Street View in New York using Google Earth, the application crashes. We tested it and found that the same problem also occurs in San Francisco. It doesn’t occur everywhere there is new imagery, but seems to be confined to areas with lots of sky scrapers.

With all this new imagery, let’s look around and see what we can see.

Bridge Construction
The old San Francisco Oakland bridge is being demolished, yet there is quite a lot of traffic on the bridge.

Bridge Construction
This isn’t an earth quake, it is 3D imagery from different dates.

Building under construction
This building is under construction.

Building complete
Zoom out a bit, and the building is complete!

To see the locations featured above, download this KML file

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. Google seem to have a major issue.

    I get the same patchy crashes in NY, but also in the City of London UK where there is high rise, but no problem in the high rise area of La Defence in Paris. Switching 3D buildings on/off makes no difference. So may be it is related to 3D updates.

    However, Street View in GE has never been stable compared with SV in Maps, although since the recent update in Maps SV jerks forward through heavily pixelated images before these resolve. Another recently experienced cause of crashes in GE is opening the new style information pages through ‘place’ icons.

    May be Google assume that users have ‘super fast’ broadband, which is far from the case, and are just accumulating and downloading too much data through their products which results in malfunctioning and crashes where broadband speeds are slow.

    It would be good if other GEB readers could check out other 3D locations and possible causes of any crashes.

    • PurpleHaze says

      Since they closed down Google Labs and took over YouTube they seem to have be assuming too much!

      There is an old saying that when you assume you make an ass of you and me.

  2. Timothy – I would be grateful to know if such announcements are only accessible to Google+ account holders, but otherwise where they can be found. Thanks.

  3. Still crashes … I must to restart the computer. Please fix it.

  4. I get same in street view for Sydney CBD

  5. Owen Hamilton says

    Mine crashes too, in New York and Sydney, and London, I’m running the latest version of Google Earth and have up to date graphics drivers.

  6. Also Google Earth Client (Windows, Mac, Android) has STOPPED landing in Photosphere and indoor Business panorama’s.

    Something is definitely afoot or broken.

    • PurpleHaze says

      I think something happened to make Google cover it up due to possible terrorism concerns? I wonder if the Boston Bombing made the company paranoid of being sued so they blocked certain street view images in sensitive areas of large cities?

      I don’t agree at all with what they have done but since the last half of the Bush era Congress and everbody else has been suing Google for every little thing so now Google is going mainstream because they are tired of the shit.

      As a result they have dumbed down their product lines to cater to the *casual* crowd since then they know they won’t get their pants sued by everybody and their government.

      The whole DRM stuff stinks on ice.

  7. At the time of this comment all issues reported above persist – as Andrew says ‘something is afoot or broken’ – and time to use the feedback facility under ‘Help’ in GE to encourage some action.

    • Owen Hamilton says

      I reported the issue using the feedback facility in GE but got no response.

      • The small print says that they do not respond to individual feedback, but take note of all feedback. We will see, and it would be good if Google used something like their LatLong blog to report on such issues.

  8. A possibly unrelated issue crops up sometimes in certain spots I’ll call “touchy”. Moving around them suddenly dumps you in a random location anywhere else on the planet, usually out in the ocean, but that’s the planet we live on. I think all the such spots I’ve run across have the new 3D. One is in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, which has a weird floating building which was under construction at the time the source imagery for the 3D was being shot. It’s not the only such spot, but I can’t recall where the others were.

  9. Google Earth has suddenly started crashing every time I attempt to enter SV.

  10. Same here! It also crashes in the street view around the area of Yonge-Dundas Square (Toronto).

    • Interesting. The new 3D doesn’t seem to be involved. Some just cropped up on the west side of Toronto and Mississauga, but it doesn’t go as far east as Yonge St. It’s also not shown yet in the maps gallery.

    • I did a bit of experimentation on Yonge St.,to see if I could approach the square from the distance. I was able to get into street view at Wellesley St, but heading south, I didn’t get far before it crashed.

  11. Instalé Google Earth en mi computador e intenté ver el Empire State en modo Street View, pero mi computador colapsó.

    Lo he intentado hacer esto varias veces, pero sigue colapsando.

    Engelbert Jerez
    Satiago, Chile.

  12. Getting lock-ups (freezing) and crashes with Street View in Chicago’s Central Business District – any fixes available?????

  13. Can’t get onto street view in New York, is this problem ever going to get fixed???

  14. I’d also like this fixed. I use GE a lot for research and it crashes every time I try to use streetview in NY, without fail.

  15. Having problems in Melbourne also…

  16. Still having issues in San Francisco. I emailed GEP help. Did anyone else do this and get a reply?

  17. I am having same problem with street view in Manhattan. I’m looking at these posts and see that the first one was on 12/15. It is now 1/15. Why hasn’t Google addressed this issue by now? Frustrating to say the least. C’mon Google, s**t or get off the pot!

  18. doriancroatia says

    It also crashes to me everywhere where there are skyscrapers…it works fine on open roads, fields…. but when I use street view in metropolitan areas, it freezes and crashes every single time…

  19. I thought it had something to do with iOS 8… It crashes in NYC street view on my iPad. But when I go to a town such as Winter Park, FL it’s perfectly fine. Google better get their act together and fix this!!

  20. There is no fix for this problem and there never will be, its time to find an alternative to google earth.
    You really do get what you pay for

  21. Fredrik Johansson says

    For me street view crashes when I try to enter areas in Barcelona, Spain. Weird, Haven’t had any problem with GE before.

    • Same for me in Barcelona. I tried London and it also crashed. Seems like it might only be high density areas. I tried all options to troubleshoot, but nothing worked.

  22. doriancroatia says

    I’m interested how come this problem popped up just recently (few weeks ago) ? How come I never had problems before when I used street view in google earth for Montreal, Toronto, NYC…. ? It worked just fine

  23. Dorian – that’s precisely the question those of us on this blog have been asking since mid-December – join us in asking Google. Honestly, I’m far less concerned about the how or why – I, like others, just want Google to fix their product

    • doriancroatia says

      Seems right! tnx for explanation. first I thought it only happens to me, until I found this blog

      • No worries – you have a lot of company (unfortunately)… we’ll see what happens.

        Enjoy the weekend!

        • doriancroatia says

          Thanks, now I see it’s not the only problem google has recently, I also noticed they’re constantly changing dropbox for main Google search XD. about GE Street view, I also hope it’ll get fixed soon, enjoy weekend too.

          • PurpleHaze says

            Google WANTS us to be negative. They enjoy seeking attention whenever they can and negative attention is a powerful source of energy for those who are in charge but are drunk with power.

            We need to be firm but positive. None of this *F-you Google* crap or it only makes them smile as it shows they win and we all go back to sleep playing their game.

  24. Whats needed is an alternative to GE, then maybe they would fix the problem. They are like the phone company.. They don’t care, they don’t have to, they are Google!

  25. I’ve had this same problem for the past several months and have been a GE and GE+ user since it’s initial release. As mentioned by others, it occurs when switching to SV in dense Skyscraper locations – in my case Philly, but the same thing occurs in NYC and Chicago. I emailed Google 2 months ago and unfortunately, have to agree with others, this is either a monumental problem within GE, or they have just decided to stop supporting the program. If so, they really should cease offering downloads and announce they are discontinuing the product.

    • I believe you are right on the 2nd one. Google has gone completely commercial and don’t give a crap about nerd stuff like this. They need to announce it but they are too big for anyone to take responsibility to someone higher up checks this out.

      The lower end people always give the *smile smile* type posts pretending there is nothing wrong because the employees are totally out of the loop and the higher ups never get the messages.

      Google is one of those *too big to fail* companies where instead they stagnate.

      Someone needs to come up with an alternative to Google that is a mix between closed platform and open source.

  26. PurpleHaze says

    Dudes! You are all totally out of the loop! Google has stopped caring since they took over YouTube and focused on smart phones instead of desktop users.

    I have had this problem since last winter in areas of large skyscrapers but couldn’t find anybody complaining about it and I refuse to touch Google Plus as all I got was a comment box that didn’t do nothing when I clicked post.

    No busy signal no errors just nothing like the comment box wasn’t even there!

  27. I don’t think the problem has anything to do with skyscrapers because you get it in nearly all big European city centres as well – London, Paris, Rome, Barcelona, you name it – where there are usually not many particularly tall buildings. Yet even in those places Street View keeps working fine in the outer districts but stalls reliably as soon as you approach the centre. Like at all the other places where Street View suddenly crashes this started only at about the beginning of December 2014. Basically there seems to be hardly any big city centre left in the world where Street View is still working.

    As it is, Google has let Street View come down quite abruptly from one of the best applications around to completely unusable crap. It’s absolutely incomprehensible to me that they’re doing nothing to fix this since clearly all they would have to do is to restore Street View to the version of a three months ago, something that could be done probably at the push of a button. I know a lot of Street View users in the meantime who get very angry about this. Google, do something about it!

    • doriancroatia says

      So, the problem it’s still on? I’m scared to even check XD. And I agree with Petrocek, cause for example, all the small cities in Balkans work fine in street view in centre of town (Zagreb, Ljubljana, etc….) But all big metropolitan areas – as soon as you approach to centre – it freezes (and crashes).

  28. I agree with PurpleHaze. Maybe google blocked metropolitan areas in western Europe and north america on purpose. When you use SV in east asian cities – like Seoul, Pusan, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Osaka and others- you find there’s certainly NO PROBLEMS. That means there’s no technical problem. The US and europe countries might have done something to google and google had to block SVs…..

    • Timothy Whitehead says

      All areas in question work perfectly well in the Google Maps version of Street View, and in fact include historical Street View as well.

  29. The theory about Asian cities is wrong. It hangs up in Bangkok, which again has many tall buildings.

  30. doriancroatia says

    Are there still freezing ?

    • Still having the same problems in Chicago – seem to be having some oddities in Maps SV too…

      • doriancroatia says

        Yeah, whole northern part of globe, obviously… just like someone mentioned before, Europe and North America are constantly freezing. on other places there are even places where in the centre of metropolis SV works, but it’ rare)

  31. I sure hope other companies decide to try to do better then Google. The actual reason Google did this in the first place was because at the time it was hard to find updated maps.

    You’re choices were either road atlases that were usually several years out of date despite the title saying *1999* it would actually be accurate up to 1996 and in those times things come and go and roads sometimes change,get widened.etc

    There was software such as Microsoft Auto Map Road Atlas but even then they would have to keep making yearly editions and still the same problem of being a year or two out of date by the time it’s release.

    Google gave up on it’s map projects it seems and decided to go mainsteam all together.

  32. amazing.

  33. Caesar Siamese says

    Here it is August and I’m still having the issues. I’m guessing all of you are as well. Thanks Google! You’re certainly living up to my expectations.

    • Timothy Whitehead says

      For most of us the issue was resolved and I can use Street View in big cities without a crash. Can you give more details. Are you experiencing a crash specifically when you enter Street View in particular locations? If so can you give a known location so that I can test?

      • This has been going on since January 9, 2015 in Street View areas of Chicago’s Central Business District (i.e. the Loop) and immediately north of there (e.g. Streeterville neighborhood). In some cases, you can be advancing your way forward without difficulty only to have the system blur and completely lock-up when rotating your view 180 degrees… 8-months and the same problem – I echo Caesar’s sentiments…

  34. The street view consistently crashes on Hollywood Blvd. in front of the TCL Chinese theater. This is on the ipad 3. I will try to recreate the problem on the newer ipads on display at Best Buy. I assume that the application exceeds the available device memory.

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.