Help and links for Google Earth

 

Google Earth the application

Dowload the current version of Google Earth (free)
Dowload an older version of Google Earth (free)
Beware! Unless you are buying the pro version from Google, Google Earth is free, if somebody wants you to pay for it, or for add-ons or support, it's a scam.

Google Earth help center
Google Earth help videos
Collection of useful tools for Google Earth

 

About the imagery

In brief: not everywhere has high resolution or very recent imagery.  It depends what is available to Google via their various suppliers.  If you find imagery which is older than three years, blurry or very cloudy, you can report it, but there is no guarantee as to when it may be updated.  Sign up to the Follow your World app to be informed of updates to your area of interest.

Why are the images blurry or old? Can I ask for an update? (help forum post - includes information on street view)
Understanding Google Earth imagery
Blurry or outdated imagery
The answer to some questions about imagery, by Hill, Google Earth Community
About Google Earth Imagery by Frank Taylor

 

Data errors

You can report data errors here, but check first, you may be able to fix this yourself using the "Report a problem" link in Google Maps or Google Map Maker.  Changes made in Google Maps will be added to Google Earth at a later date.

Report a problem or fix the map
What is Google Map Maker?
Inaccurate address locations
Reporting a Street View image (if you think it should be removed or if faces or number plates are not blurred)
Google Places for Business, business owners, claim your listing to make corrections and add your own content (free)

For errors in other content, click the icon to open the balloon, there is probably a link to report errors. For the Google Earth Community blue "i"s, click the link at the bottom of the placemark balloon and tell the original poster about it, either by replying in the thread or by using the "reply to author" option in the drop down menu next to the date and the reply button. Please use "reply to author" for recent posts only. If a member has not posted for some time, they are unlikely to see your message. See this post for details. You'll need to register with the GE community to do that. If it's an error in the Wikipedia layer, you can look in Wikipedia to see if it has already been corrected, and if not, maybe correct it yourself.

 

Common problems

Problems installing? Shortcuts not appearing, or disappearing? Look at Installing and uninstalling Google Earth in the help center. If it doesn't help and for other installation issues, click the "advanced setup" link on the download page and uncheck "Allow Google Earth to automatically install recommended updates". This will download the full install, not the small installer and this generally works better.

Unexpected crashes, Google Earth not opening. Go through the steps in Resolving Crashing and Graphics Issues on Windows Machines and Resolving Crashing and Graphics Issues on a Mac. If you still can't get it to work, you can uninstall and try an older version from this page, click "Google Earth (free version) Direct Installer Links" to expand the options.

Satellite imagery not appearing, see through earth, globe is blue or purple when zooming in, missing characters in names and lat long coordinates: try switching graphics mode to OpenGL or DirectX, which ever you are not using at the moment (Windows only). Additionally you may need to update your graphics card driver. More information: Resolving Crashing and Graphics Issues on Windows Machines and Resolving Crashing and Graphics Issues on a Mac.

Globe is spinning by itself, there are arrows on the screen. Look in Tools - Options - "Navigation" tab, and in the "Non-mouse controller" section, uncheck "Enable controller" and "Enable visualization". Then restart Google Earth. Alternatively, unplug any joystick or similar controller. See the release notes for version 7.1.1.1888 for more information.

Google Earth appears with a blue and red 3D effect. The upgrade to Windows 8.1 enabled the stereoscopic 3D option on some graphics cards. You'll need to disable it again. If it's an Nvidia card, look in the Nvidia control panel. If you don't see the stereoscopic 3D option, try updating the graphics card drivers. See this blog post for more information: Disabling stereoscopic 3D in Google Earth.

Odd bits of imagery appearing and disappearing? You probably need to delete the cache: step 1 in Resolving Crashing and Graphics Issues on Windows Machines and Clearing your cache on a Mac. Note that for Windows the instructions in step one for deleting the cache files directly from the folder apply to older versions of Google Earth (6.2 and earlier). For versions 7.0 and 7.1 you'll find one or more folders in the same location named something like "unified_cache_leveldb_leveldb2", that's what you need to delete.

How do I move my saved places to a new computer? You will find myplaces.kml in your profile. Whilst Google Earth is closed you can copy it and move it to the correct location on your new computer. These help articles explain how to find it: Retrieving and moving your placemarks file and Removing a Corrupt myplaces.kml File. For a corrupt my places file see Jason's debugging tips here and here.

I upgraded and now I don't have street view. Don't panic! Street view was changed in version 6. You have to drag the pegman onto the map in the same way that you do in Google Maps. This video explains it. Street view is no longer available in versions of Google Earth prior to version 6.0. Some older operating systems (PowerPC Macs, Windows 2000 ...) cannot run later versions. If this applies to you, you can only use street view in Google Maps.

If you don't see the navigation tools in the top right, go to the View menu - Show navigation - check "Always" or "Automatically" (this means the navigation tools appear when you roll the mouse over them).

Large red X, unwanted clutter, or something blocking out the imagery. All of these can be due to items you have checked in the Layers panel or downloaded to the Places panel. Learn how to organise or remove items in the Places panel.
Unchecking layers will give a less cluttered view and may improve performance. Spend some time getting to know the different layers so you can easily find them if you want them.
When you open a Google Earth file it is placed in Temporary Places. When you close Google Earth you are given the option to save these files, the default is yes. Take a look through your "My Places", there may be things you don't want any more. You can delete them or just uncheck them so they are not displayed in the viewer.
A large red X means you have an overlay enabled and the image used is not available any more.

The earth moves by itself to a different location. This can be caused by a network link refreshing and dragging the view to its default location. The imagery update file does this. Just uncheck it in the Places panel when you're not using it.

I want to add my village name to Google Earth! If you've turned on the Populated Places layer and the local names layer (currently under "More") and the name isn't there, depending on your location, you may be able to add it using Google Mapmaker. For other locations you can add a placemark to the Google Earth Community. Make it interesting, tell us something about the location, and it should be added to the Google Earth community layer (the blue "i"s) a few weeks after you make your post.
To find the name of a place you don't know, consider using the Geonames network link.

How do I add photos to Google Earth? You can upload your photos to Panoramio and as long as they meet the selection criteria they will be added to Photos layer, as with the GEC, this process takes a few weeks. For any questions regarding Panoramio, check out their help and FAQ, and if you still can't find an answer, ask on the Panoramio support and feedback forum.

How do I use Google Earth when I have no internet connection? Check out these tips and links from Frank Taylor: Using Google Earth offline.

 

Still need help?

Look in the Google Earth help center, especially the "Fix an issue" section. Then ask a question in the Google Earth help forum.

Need help in a language other than English? Select your own language (if available) in the drop down list at the bottom of the help center home page, on the right you will see a link to the help forum in that language.

A question about KML? Check out the KML Developer Support group or Stack Overflow.

Help with SketchUp or 3D Warehouse.