Last night Google released a new version of the desktop version of Google Earth Pro version 7.3.1 (which is free despite the confusing “Pro” name). You can download this at the download page found here: www.google.com/earth/desktop/
This new version 7.3.1 represents some significant work by Google to add “bug fixes, performance and feature improvements, and security upgrades.” – as seen in the announcement post in the Google Earth help forum here.
I am showing the full release notes below, but I want to explain some things about this version to those of you who might be confused about the different versions of Google Earth out there:
There are two distinct versions of Google Earth currently: Google Earth Pro (for desktop OSes: Windows 7+, Mac OS 10.8+, and Linux) and Google Earth for Chrome and Mobile (web-based and Android/IOS). The web/mobile version is a new partial re-write of the original Google Earth software, but is much more limited in many ways – in particular because you can’t create content with it for placing on the Earth (read review of its release last April). The desktop version, Google Earth Pro, on the other hand has all the features for creating content derived from the last 13+ years of development on Google Earth, and provides you with a wealth of built-in layers and content, as well as many ways to view content (as documented on this blog since 2005). Eventually, Google says they plan to incorporate more features in the web/mobile version. But, until then, they plan to continue to support the more powerful desktop version of Google Earth Pro. [UPDATE: I should have said “three distinct versions“, because there is also Google Earth VR. But, only a small segment of population have access to high-end VR devices which can run it (Rift, Vive, and the new Windows VR devices).]
Since the web/mobile version is a long way from replacing the desktop version, it is important to thank Google for continuing to support Google Earth Pro. This new version 7.3.1 incorporates a wide range of bug fixes, security and performance enhancements, and even some new features (a condensed list is in the release notes below) for all operating systems supported. The actual fixes are too numerous (and for most too boring) to list, but Google has been listening to feedback on the help forum and fixing those which have the greatest impact. My favorite change happens to be the fix which supports higher refresh displays which run faster than 120Hz. Also, of particular note is support for Windows 64-bit version.
What’s New In Google Earth Pro 7.3.1
Here are a few highlights of the many fixes, changes and improvements we’ve made for this release of Google Earth Pro.
- Windows 64-bit: 64-bit application
- Windows: support for SSL client authentication with secure servers
- Windows: stability improvements in DirectX mode
- Linux: added support for printing, embedded video and sounds
- Performance improvements with large KML files
- Improved support for secure connections and handling of certificate errors
- Polygons spanning the antimeridian no longer sometimes disappear
- CSV import tool user interface fixes and better Unicode support
- Repair Tool improvements
- Elevation Profile tool measurements are now more consistent
- Better translations throughout the user interface
- GPS device live mode functionality restored
- Fixed incompatibility with high-refresh-rate displays
- Windows: upgrading from 32 to 64-bit application resets cache
- “Tables” tool user interface, stability problems