Wish list for Google Earth for 2017

Here is our wish list for 2017:

  • Google has been making bug-fix updates to Google Earth, which have been very welcome (the crash that used to happen when moving placemarks was very frustrating), but there have been no new features added. We would love to see new features, or even a major update.

  • Google has recently shut down the Google Earth plugin / API. The main reason given for discontinuing it was that it relied on old technology called NPAPI that is considered insecure by browser makers and is being removed from browsers or made harder to use. We would love to see Google provide some alternative ways to control Google Earth via code and query Google Earth’s datasets. It could even provide information that could not be easily obtained with the old API such as imagery providers, or the boundary of a given image.

  • Given that the Google Earth plugin / API is now shut down, we will be unable to create imagery update maps. A few years ago Google would release update maps on a fairly regular basis. Over the last few years, however, it has only provided teasers in the Voyager layers, usually covering only a tiny fraction of all the updates that have taken place. It would be fantastic if Google was to resume publishing imagery update maps.

  • The yearly global mosaics of Landsat/Sentinel-2 imagery that were recently added to historical imagery are a welcome addition, but also come with some disadvantages. They make it much harder to explore historical imagery and in some places Google has got the settings wrong. We would like to see the altitude at which they fade out raised slightly and even better, the option to turn them off.

  • An interesting additional setting for the ‘historical imagery’ feature would be to allow the selection of a date range rather than the current maximum date. That way you could easily find all imagery within a given date range (especially if the Landsat / Sentinel-2 layers could be turned off).

  • The global mosaics are created by merging multiple images at any given location and as a result lose some resolution and do not show seasonal changes and events. It would be fantastic if Google could find a way to allow us to view the raw Landsat and Sentinel-2 imagery in Google Earth. The ideal would be to have a special layer where you could view them. Currently, although the imagery can be obtained relatively easily, it still needs to be downloaded, processed and then inserted in Google Earth. It would not be difficult at all to process all the imagery and make it work with Google Earth. The only issue is processing time and storage, which Google has in abundance. Google already offers the unprocessed data on Google Cloud. It could at least add processed ‘true colour’ versions to the database, even better would be to break it into smaller tiles.

  • With Panoramio being shut down in November this year, it is time that Google finally fixes user contributed Street View in Google Earth.

  • We would also love to see ‘historical Street View’ added to Google Earth. It currently only exists in the Google Maps version of Street View.

  • Better navigation tools for Street View would also be nice. Some ideas from Google Maps could be incorporated into Google Earth.

  • Google Earth has seen a number of layers being dropped. Other layers do not work correctly and are not being updated and maintained by the original data providers. We would love to see a revitalisation of the layers. Google could start by having a look at projects in Google Earth Engine such as the Global Surface Water Changes map.

  • Google Earth’s altitude data is often far from accurate. There is better quality altitude data available from open sources. We would like to see Google update the altitude data.

  • We are generally happy with the progress made in 3D imagery and hope to see this continue.

  • We would like to see more of the solar system planets and moons included in Google Earth.

  • We would like to see improvements to the Tour functionality of Google Earth. It is an underutilised feature of Google Earth, partly because it lacks flexibility and partly due to the lack of Tour creation tooling.

  • We would like the ability to save ‘My Places’ to the cloud and sync it with other computers as well as allowing simultaneous editing from multiple locations.

The blue dots of user contributed Street View can be seen in Google Earth, but there is no way to view the actual photos.

See our wish list from a couple of years ago here. A few of our wishes and those of our readers were actually fulfilled.

What is your wish list for Google Earth in 2017? Let us know in the comments.

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. Oldinei Martins says

    Eu sou fã do gogle hearth o que for feito pra melhorar sera sempre bem vindo com certeza

  2. In most of the geopoltical debates happened in many forums more recent updates of vital areas are necessary, e.g. parts of Britain are ignored since years.
    Same happened for many test centers like Kapustin Yar 48.784069° 45.813912°, Sary Shagan 46.442875°72.851516° and Taiyuan 38.876678°111.604276°, partly with resolution of only 10m and many years old.
    A good example for a fair update process is Terraserver. Google is more and more left behind

  3. The return of iframe support (Youtube videos…) for mac users!!!

  4. My life would be so much easier if I could select and move more than one placemark/overlay at a time in the left hand panel.

  5. multiple new or fully customizable navigation. id love to fly around with wasd and space = up ctrl = down mousewheel = acceleration selector. also a toggleable curve banking. the limited style of navigation just showes how disconnected google is from their userbase

  6. Google Earth VR needs Search function with voice recognition. Also there is no street view in Google Earth VR yet. It could be great if user could save bookmarks too

  7. chirag saini says

    Can google earth is available on india

  8. I’d like to see the parcel data return. The way it’s going I fear that Google Earth won’t be available at all for much longer.


    Please google make it possible for India also to travel beautiful places around the world. I am suffering from inconvenience of not having google earth from few months. I have also researched about why google earth is not available in India and I found that it was really unfair but by the security reasons it becomes fair. So overall no one was wrong at that point but I am here to request Google to make it possible for Indians to travel all over the world. I think you can request for us to launch Google Earth again in India and please do not make views of crucial and private army practices of India, you can also write this point in the request letterMy humble request to Google. Sorry and Thankyou. Please don’t make it personal it’s just for convenience of us and Google’s success

  10. More moons and planets would be great, but in the same vein an update to the Sky, Mars and Moon elements would be in order. There is nothing “current” about Sky and Mars as it could be, even when respective topics are making big news headlines. The whole Moon thing has been introduced as a big deal on the eve of the “first-look” LCRO images of the Apollo landing sites. That was in 2009, for the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11. In just a little while, the 50th anniversary is coming up. Tons and tons of new data and hires images have been produced since then, none of which have been added to GE. No bugs removed, no faulty data fixed (and there’s plenty!), nothing. It’s practically an abandoned product.

  11. Thanks for that list and I can agree to all these points. Unfortunately with the lack of updates and many things breaking down over time or being removed I have a bit of a fear that Google might actually decide to abandon Google Earth altogether as they have done with a lot of their desktop products. The mobile apps as well haven’t received any meaningful updates over a long time as well.

    Regardless, here a few things that I would like to see:

    1) give access to open data of governments, NGOs etc., there is so much data available with geolocation that can be visualized in Google Earth, however not everyone is a software dev (I am fortunately), so using data of e.g. national parks, crimes, natural disasters etc. in Google Earth requires manual development, it would be much better to have a central, current library, with layers offered by Google and outside developers, also real-time data would be great
    2) make it easier to meta-edit markers (edit/delete in the list, based on manual selection, search or even by marking an area on the globe), also much improved search functionality
    3) add more options to change UI/functionality based on user preference, there are many small things that make Google Earth unusable if you have a lot of data (e.g. description of markers always visible in the marker list on the left side)
    4) save the myplaces.kml periodically + automatically and not only when closing Google Earth, it’s just “awesome” to do lots of edits and then Google Earth crashes and every progress is lost
    5) there should be a way to create filters for layers to work with external data (filter schools in a city based on certain criteria) as well as a way to push changes made in Google Earth to external data
    and many more…, whether via KML extensions or some kind of API

    Basically Google Earth still works as a tool to visualize geodata but it lacks the functionality to efficiently access, work with and edit all the data out there. However Google Earth is also much more accessible for normal users than professional geographical information systems. So it’s up to Google to decide whether they still care about their original mission of making all the available information accessible or not.

  12. Jaccobs, abandoning GoogleEarth entirely would be terrible. I hope your fears turn out to be groundless. It’s hard to overestimate the importance of GoogleEarth in Earth Sciences. There are literally tens of thousands of students and scientists using GoogleEarth every single day.

  13. Daniel Wrench says

    I would like to see the historical imagery have a geological counterpart which would allow geological periods to be viewed. Rewind the maps to see the continents shift. Quite a big change but recent communication with Google UK seems to have been positively received.

  14. 1. I’d love “split/join/revert” tracks functions.
    2. Allow user to choose his/her own set of historical maps. Lots of historical maps are of very low quality and I really don’t need them.
    3. Create a function to shift map background. Historical maps are shifted in various directions and thus are out of any use for me to track my walk trips (I always choose 07/2013 for Prague, Czech Republic). I’d like same geografical position for same objects throughout the history.

  15. Also they need to fix that bug with the list on the left:
    – my list is longer than 1 screen
    – I open Google Earth and scroll down in that list
    – I click on one of the layers and instead of activating that layer the list jumps to the top and only then I can scroll down again and click on the layer
    – this behaviour only happens right after the start and only for layers that I need to scroll down for
    Nothing big, but annoying.

  16. Another annoying bug: There is a certain file size limit for KML (a few MB) after which umlauts (e.g. German “ä”, “ö”, “ü”) for folders and markers suddenly are not treated properly anymore and show up with the wrong encoding.

  17. Use Chrome browser engine for marker descriptions and especially when opening links within Google Earth instead of directly in external Chrome. Should have same JS functionality / speed and if possible use the same instance as Chrome so that it isn’t necessary to login to websites again (same cookies etc.).

  18. alpreston133 says

    I’d like them to fix the bug where trying to view “Explore the Ocean” videos results in a bogus error message saying that Flash Player is not installed and asking if I want to install it. I have the latest version of Flash Player installed but still get this message. This is a long-standing bug.

  19. More ideas just in case someone from Google actually reads here:
    – Extend KML to make linking between markers possible (e.g. related markers) by adding an identifier to markers and then linking simply via HTML Anchor Tags
    – In the list on the left the folder name should be sticky at the top while scrolling. So even with hundreds or thousands of markers in a folder it would still be easy to close that folder again without endless scrolling.
    – Also in this list navigation should be possible by keyboard input. At the moment typing certain characters (e.g. “p” instead of CTRL+P) starts other operations in Google Earth, even if the focus is on the list.

  20. – When reloading network links with a lot of data Google Earth seems to randomly choose visibility for the folders, some are active, others are not. It neither follows the visibility tag within the KML nor the previous settings of the user.
    – Google Earth should always use whatever settings are included in the KML when loading first, but the user settings when reloading (manually, based on view or time)

  21. My entire ship tracking website became useless in January because of the Google API ceasing to work. Google needs to come up with an alternative for those of us that relied on this feature. Imagine Microsoft turning off support for USB – that is what it feels like now that Google has turned off support for the plugin. Why couldn’t Google come up with an alternative before shutting this down?

  22. Maybe not directly related to Google Earth, but I would love some sort of cloud-synchronization between Google Earth and Google Photos. All the geotagged photos in your library can therefore be plotted on your own personal globe in Google Earth. With the time slides, you would be able to select a custom period in your life, and check out which photos you took during that time.

    Also, I would love to have the ‘My Timeline’ feature in Google Maps available in Google Earth, but that is never gonna happen. With a feature like this you’d be able to really retrace your steps and basically map your entire life.

    I am really into documenting my life via pictures and stories, and it would be awesome to be able to zoom in on a specific day during one of my travels and to be able to follow my journey and every picture I took as well.

    Wishfull thinking!

  23. Somebody has suggested about VR experience and there are a lot of great wish list that might be same as i thought. But i just thought about maybe, one day it could be some kind of Google Earth Live. At the certain part of the world user can experience the live footage and can be zoom in very well. Maybe it will only available to selected areas only but it could be fun and great experience to view it live. (just maybe)

  24. Same wishes as in 2015 🙁 Nothing changed 🙁

    “Lock North” button, myplaces sync, historical Street View, Street View SpaceNavigator support, real full screen, and advanced manager of myplaces.

  25. Hello, does GE has problems with the authentication? I’ve had troubles for 10 days, trying to connect it. I’ve checked the servers through the function ping and are ok. In fact, I’ve installed the new version and no works. Do you know if there is an failure?

  26. Google Earth has been switched off since beginning 2017. But now google maps has an earth view mode that can be turned (left,right, up, down) as of google earth. Is the API for this part of the google maps already available, and if not, when is google planning to publish this part of the API?

    • Timothy Whitehead says

      Google has not made available an API for Google Maps ‘Earth’ mode, nor have they indicated when they will do so.

  27. Bill Greene says

    be nice to be able to see the earth without any water so we can see the enormous depths of the oceans as well as the heights of the mountains

  28. you need to update calgary

  29. May you kindly update an image for Mushandike dam 252458.57 m E 7770035.67 m S and irrigation scheme 259704.83 m E 7763143.11 m S ; Masvingo town 273145.40 m E;7779002.21 m S and Lake Mutirikwi/ Kyle in Masvingo 289095.95 m E 7761967.15 m S in Zimbabwe. Thank you very much. I am grateful for the images available at the moment. It’s a very good record of the past. Images of the present would help me identify the changes. I am studying the above mentioned water bodies and their supply areas.

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.