Google Earth browser plugin arrives

Wow. Announced today at Google I/O, Google Maps gets a 3D plugin just like Microsoft Virtual Earth’s, letting you harness all the 3D goodness of Google Earth via one extra line of Maps API javascript code. The plugin comes with its own extended API that lets you programmatically perform many of the things people have wished for in a Google Earth API — except that the solution, in the end, is that the API is going to be browser-based.

The plugin is for Windows only, at the moment, though with Mac and Linux versions promised. Creating a cross-platform API for a standalone application like Google Earth is indeed a tall order — a cross platform Javascript API, not so much!:-) The possibilities are many — just imagine the games you could make, just for starters…

Google Lat-Long has the announcement, Google Earth Blog reports from the conference and adds details, and if you have a Windows machine, rush to download the plugin at the Google Earth API page, peruse the developer’s guide, then check out some samples. Here is Google’s intro video:

How many minutes before the first 3D Google Maps mashups are released in the wild? If you find some, do post to the comments.

[Update 16:51 UTC: O’Reilly Radar has more context.]

[Update 17:18 UTC: Barry Hunter has some demos up on]

[Update 18:12 UTC: Dan Catt looks under the hood of the new Google Earth API and likes what he sees. Separately, the Mac version of the Google Earth plugin could arrive within two months, I’ve been told.]

3 thoughts on “Google Earth browser plugin arrives”

  1. Even better news is that the Earth plugin/ API fully supports kml network links with regions, unlike the Google Maps API.

    This means you can run huge datasets using just kml, as the Earth plugin will load more kml files on the fly automatically if you have the regions set up to load when on screen and zoomed appropriately. We’re working on making our site navigable using the new plugin – see

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