Last week we got an email from GEB reader Alan letting us know that Google Earth Pro, which formerly cost US$400 per year, appears to now be free. There has been no official announcement from Google as yet on the subject.
[Update: Google have now officially announced that Google Earth Pro is free. ]
We signed up for Google Earth Pro, and instead of granting us a 7-day trial licence as was formerly the case, we received an email with a licence key clearly stating that it is a free licence. Also, we formerly had a trial key and requested our account infomation. We received an email with our licence key and a stated expiry date of January 20, 2017. Both the above keys work in Google Earth Pro. In addition, links to licence purchasing and renewal pages now redirect to the Google Earth Pro download page.
Before you rush off to download Google Earth Pro, keep in mind that for the vast majority of users it has no significant features that they need. Be sure to check out the feature comparison list here before downloading it. Google Earth Pro suffers from all the same bugs that are found in Google Earth, as it is based on the same code base, so do not expect it to resolve bug related issues you may be having with Google Earth.
Google Earth Pro includes access to demographics, parcel data and daily traffic counts for the United States.
Google Earth Pro includes area and perimeter measurements of polygons, a feature not available in the standard version of Google Earth.