Adobe Flash in Google Earth

In our post on UrtheCast earlier this week, we incorrectly stated that Google Earth’s internal browser does not support flash content. It actually does and has done so since version 4.2.

To test whether Flash is working in Google Earth check the popups in the layer Ocean‑>National Geographic‑>Magazine Quiz, as they contain flash content. If you see the quiz questions and answers then Flash is working. If you see a message telling you to install the Flash player, then here is how to install it if you are on Windows. Other operating systems should be similar:
Go to this website in a browser. Select the link that says ‘Download the Adobe® Flash® Player system plug-in.’ On the next page, if you do not want it to install a copy of ‘McAfee Security Scan Plus’ then be sure to un-tick that offer. Then click ‘install now’. Run the file it downloads. When the installation is complete restart Google Earth and you should find Flash content is now working.

Once you have Flash working, you can view the UrtheCast videos from within Google Earth using this KML file

While identifying the location of the Barcelona, Spain, video, we discovered that it includes footage of the Montjuïc Castle, parts of which are censored in Google Earth. Not only is the aerial imagery for the location blurred, but the 3D imagery of Barcelona gives it a wide berth, clearly for censorship reasons.

Censored area in Barcelona, Spain, captured in uncensored HD video by UrtheCast.

Also of note is that since our recent post on UrtheCast, they have made two major announcements on their blog. Firstly, they plan to build and launch their own constellation of imaging satellites and secondly, they plan to acquire two already existing satellites, Deimos 1 and 2, together with their existing imagery archives.

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. Doesn’t work on Mac… since too many time!!!

    • On my fully up to date iMac, with Flash player installed for other use, the NG quiz layer shows NG icons but on each pop up the quiz section is blank, although three is no message either. However, there is a constant need to keep Flash products up to date do deal with security issues, and the limited additional Flash based content on GE suggests that it might not be worth the hassle.

  2. The censorship of the castle in Barcelona is goes way overboard. It takes out almost the entire core of the city.

  3. flash in GE? no thanks. embedding Videos from vimeo and youtube can be done with html5 which isn’t the big security risk that flash is.

  4. Flash has not worked in the Mac version of Earth for at least 3 years and using the HTML 5 embed code from YouTube and Vimeo doesn’t help. YouTube’s code still crashes the program. It’s a very annoying bug when trying to help teachers and students use Earth for their projects.

  5. Barcelona: just use the Historic Images, many of them are not censored!

  6. Alastair Preston says:

    The National Geographic magazine quiz does not work despite the latest Adobe flash being installed. Neither do any of the videos associated with ocean exploration – I always get a message that flash is not installed, and a link directing me to Adobe’s download page. , but the link does not work within Google Earth. I have no problem going to Adobe’s download page from an external browser.

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