Google Earth is incredible free software that lets you view the entire world in 3D! You can zoom in and out, fly anywhere around the globe and even see your own house from space!
Google Earth comes free with your free download of the Google Pack
We are huge fans of Google Earth, so we've created this site. We want everyone to find out about Google Earth and get all the help they need downloading, installing and running this amazing software. We just want to help. We are not affiliated with Google.
*What is Google Earth?
Google Earth, is a 3D globe program created originally by Keyhole Inc. and currently owned by Google. It uses satellite imagery and essentially stitches together millions of photos, and the result is a three dimensional globe you can view from very far away or close enough to see the roof of your own house. Google Earth contains maps and many, many layers of other information so you can actually view any location and choose what other types of information you'd like to view, like streets, boundaries, points of interest, restaurants, hotels, geographic information and a lot more. You no longer need a 50 lb. atlas or a thousand paper maps to see everything you want to see. In fact, even all that falls ridiculously short of everything Google Earth can do. And you can do it all right from your desk at home.
This is what Google Earth looks like with a globe view.
This is an image of some 3D buildings in Google Earth. Notice the clarity of the image. Amazing, right?
*How does Google Earth work?
There are basic features of Google Earth, and then more technical ones. Here we're going to go over the basics, so that you can get up and running with Google Earth in just a few minutes. Once you've installed the 2007 Earth software, one of your options is to take a sightseeing tour. We actually suggest this, because it's a great introduction to the software, and shows you what the images look like when you're flying. If you'd like to see some previously created tours you can click here. On this page you'll see a lot of information, about Google Earth blogs, famous landmarks that have been "placemarked" in Google Earth previously, and tours created by Google Earth users. We will always be adding new landmarks, tours and interesting tidbits to our site, so come back to check them out.
The "Fly To" Feature
"Fly To" is a feature you'll see and use frequently in the Google Earth interface. It's a search field basically. You enter an address, city, state, country, zip code or cross streets into the search box and click "Search". Google Earth with then fly you to that location in a matter of moments.
With Google Earth you use directional controls to control your flying directions. You can control this fully, just as you would if you were flying a real plane or a video game one. You can zoom in or out, tilt, drive with an overhead view or a horizontal view. The horizontal view is really fun when you come across 3D buildings. You can even fly backwards or pick a particular compass direction to fly. You can learn shortcuts and tricks, too, like holding the right mouse button while pushing or pulling to zoom in and out. We go over this in more depth in the video tutorials, but you're likely to discover things on your own as well.
This is a screenshot of a beautiful beach in Hawaii.
There are two different types of searches available in Google Earth. One is called "Local Search" and the other is called "Business Search". You use Local Search to find basically anything, landmarks, neighborhoods etc. in a particular area. If you know the type of business or name of the business you're looking for you can use the "Business Search" box and type in that information and you'll get all the results within the area you specified. Both have boxes where you can enter either an address or a more general search for something like "shoe repair in Indianapolis". Both these search options use Google's powerful mapping technology, so you can see, print or email maps or driving directions to and from anywhere. When you double-click on a business, you will get further information about that business like address and telephone number, or get driving directions.
Try clicking "more" in the balloon image you get as the result of a business search. When you do that a new browser window will open with a Google map of that location. Scroll down the page and you'll see lots of information about that business like phone numbers, hours of operation, menus and relevant links. It runs circles around the Yellow Pages.
How to Save Locations
Now that you've found a particular place on the globe, what do you with it? Well, you have a lot of choices actually You can bookmark it for later by creating what's called a "placemark", a little thumbtack icon which saves the exact location for you even after you close Google Earth. Another option you have is to print the entire page. You can email a map or directions and send it to a friend or family member.
What are "Layers"?
If you took a sheet of clear film and put on it only information about all the world's hotels, and then created another sheet with only information about the world's restaurants and bars, and another with only the streets of earth, and another with all parks, etc. until you had a sheet for basically every different kind of information about the Earth that you can think of, you'd have something which is similar to "Layers" in Google Earth. In the sidebar on the left side of the Google Earth interface, you can check or uncheck dozens of different types of information. These will then be shown or hidden in your globe view. You can control whether you want to see points of interest, highways, cafes, land borders, etc. or not.
*Google Earth as a Social Activity
Hundreds of thousands of people use Google Earth now. This is a much bigger thing than just downloading a piece of software. You're instantly part of a gigantic community of Google Earth users. And you can be as social as you like with this. You can join blogs, start one of your own, find out news about new technological advances in Google Earth, new ways people are implementing Google Earth's software to create other software, etc. Of course you don't have to actively participate in any community activities, but it's just nice to know they're there. There is an official Google Community which you can become a member here: Google Earth At Keyhole. There is also the official Google Earth blog you can read and participate in, post comments, etc.
*What is the right Google Earth for me?
You have three choices. The Google Earth that we offer here is the free one and it's just called "Google Earth", details are below. There are two additional versions available directly from Google Earth's official website and those are explained below. We suggest you try out the free version, see what you think, and if you find you need more, then by all means get more!
Google Earth - This is the free version. It has all the features of fly to, searches, printing, saving, emailing, placemarks mentioned above. Support only via website. Limit of 1000 px per printed or saved image.
Google Earth Plus - $20 subscription-based annual fee. Enhanced performance, limit of 1400 px per printed image and 1000 px per saved image. Can be used with GPS device, optional business ad feature, support via website and email.
Google Earth Pro - $400 subscription-based annual fee. For professional use. Fastest performance of all three versions. Limit of 4800 px per printed image and 4800 px per saved image. Can be used with GPS device, optional business ad feature, support via email, website or chat. Modules for data importing, movie making and premium printing. Optional GDT traffic counts data.