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Google Earth, Now With Browser Goodness 143

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the nutritious-and-delicious dept.
Google announced this week that their Google Earth application can now be used from the browser, instead of having to download and install the desktop application. "Google also launched an JavaScript API that lets you interact with the globe, draw markers, add layers or integrate with Google Maps. 'The Google Earth Plug-in and its APIs let you embed the full power of Google Earth and its 3D rendering capabilities into your web pages.' Google LatLong blog announced that each Google Maps mashup can take advantage of the new 3D view by adding a single line of code. 'Our goal is to open up the entire core of Google Earth to developers in the hopes that you'll build the next great geo-based 3D application, and change how we view the world.'"
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Google Earth, Now With Browser Goodness

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  • Now they can connect your browsing habits with your satellite voyeurism.
    • by WED Fan (911325)

      Now they can connect your browsing habits with your satellite voyeurism.

      Awww, come on, that was funny.

      Did someone give mod points to a Google worker?

  • Google : Journey to the Center of the Earth come out? Or even better Google Mars!
  • Why, why, why (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sakdoctor (1087155) on Friday May 30, 2008 @02:50PM (#23602765) Homepage
    So now it can run substantially on a (huge) plug-in inside my browser. How is this different or more convenient just because the window is wrapped in the browser.

    Seems everything must run inside the browser these days. When can I get windows vista for firefox?
    • Re:Why, why, why (Score:5, Informative)

      by mmkkbb (816035) on Friday May 30, 2008 @02:56PM (#23602851) Homepage Journal
      You could theoretically embed this in a web page where one would use maps now.
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        But then it would no longer be a web page.
        • by tepples (727027)

          You could theoretically embed this in a web page
          But then it would no longer be a web page.
          By your standards, YouTube is not a web page because it contains FLV video, nor is Slashdot because it contains SWF advertisements. If I have an HTML page that uses the object element to embed rich media, what makes it a "web page" or not a "web page"?
          • by Qzukk (229616) on Friday May 30, 2008 @03:35PM (#23603309) Journal
            By your standards, YouTube is not a web page because it contains FLV video

            If I turn off plugins and go to this website, what do I get? The example screenshot shows Google Earth taking up the entire browser, so my guess is "a blank page" (or one begging me to install their plugin).

            I use YouTube on a fairly regular basis on my x86-64 system without the crashtastic 32-bit flash wrapper. I can see the title of the movie, links to related movies, and download the flv to watch in mplayer.
            • by tepples (727027)
              Context for moderators: discussion about whether a page that embeds a plug-in is a "web page" in spirit

              I use YouTube [...] without [...] flash [...] I can see the title of the movie, links to related movies, and download the flv to watch in mplayer.

              I don't understand. Since when does YouTube provide an easily accessible way to download the .flv file? Or what procedure do you recommend? And is there a similar procedure for Newgrounds (SWF animations and SWF games) or sites that have Java applets?

            • by lokedhs (672255)
              Why don't you just use the 32-bit version of Firefox? Work wonders, and natively runs 32-bit plugins. You know, the whole point of the amd64 is that it is able to run 64-bit and 32-bit apps at the same time.
      • by GweeDo (127172)
        No theoretically here. If you already have Google Maps you just add this line:
        map.addMapType(G_SATELLITE_3D_MAP);

        That is it.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by MobyDisk (75490)
        I wonder what kinds of interesting and useful things one could do with that ability.
        - See recent places you've searched?
        - Find out where you and your friends live?
        - Access files on your hard drive?

        Sorry to sound overly skeptical, but I remember when Microsoft thought that browser plug-ins were a great idea so they made Office embeddable inside a browser. Then came 10 years of security hell.
    • As soon as Microsoft can get Vista work for IE, or get it to work at all.
    • by commodoresloat (172735) * on Friday May 30, 2008 @03:48PM (#23603515)

      When can I get windows vista for firefox?
      It's not likely to be available for firefox, but soon you will be able to run it within emacs.
    • by Danathar (267989)
      yea....I DEMAND to run Virtualbox or VMware as a plugin for my browser! Why? Cause that would be COOL!
  • Unfortunately (Score:3, Informative)

    by gnick (1211984) on Friday May 30, 2008 @02:50PM (#23602775) Homepage
    Unfortunately, as with the current version of Google Earth, it does not support proxies requiring authentication... Not sure which version this changed in, but older versions work fine.
  • Not compatible with: (Score:5, Informative)

    by Andy_R (114137) on Friday May 30, 2008 @02:51PM (#23602787) Homepage Journal
    All Linux browsers
    Firefox (Macintosh)
    Safari (all platforms)
    Firefox 3 (all platforms)
    Opera (all platforms)... ... and so on
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Colonel Korn (1258968)

      All Linux browsers
      Firefox (Macintosh)
      Safari (all platforms)
      Firefox 3 (all platforms)
      Opera (all platforms)... ... and so on
      I never expected to see Google release something that was (practically) IE exclusive...
      • by exley (221867)

        I never expected to see Google release something that was (practically) IE exclusive...
        Why?
    • by dave420 (699308)
      But it's still compatible with over 80% of the browsers out there ;)
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jason Earl (1894)

        But it's still compatible with over 80% of the browsers out there ;)

        Sure, once the end user downloads a plugin.

        This new software runs on almost precisely the same number of computers as the old one, but now it has the added advantage that Microsoft can break it every time they rev their browser.

        Oh yeah, that's progress.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by dave420 (699308)
          Sure, but it also means it can be embedded in a web-page, and interfaced with via javascript. No more downloading KML files and waiting for Google Earth to load them, the webpage can directly show you what it's describing. That IS progress. Just think how useful Google Maps would be in a stand-alone application, compared to how useful it is now. The fact it can be extended using JS and presented in a web-page is how it really becomes useful. But I guess it's more fun to ignore all that and just have a
    • You could try this for Linux: http://www.tatanka.com.br/ies4linux/page/Main_Page [tatanka.com.br]
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      people consider google one of THE web companies.

      yet they have LOST the notion of platform independance, at least in this case.

      the start of the true downfall of google? (nah, that was when they rated on that guy and let the chinese take that poor dissident away).

      I just can't understand why you'd write a 'web program' and also have WINDOWS CODE in it. boggle!

      the shine is wearing off the google, it seems.
    • by MtViewGuy (197597)
      I'm sure Google will make Google Earth compatible with Firefox 3.0, given that Firefox 3.0 is going to be a hugely popular product. I'm not surprised the Google Earth doesn't work with Firefox 3.0 yet given that the new browser has yet to complete its beta test program.
    • by Ilgaz (86384) *
      Earth Browser recently got a major upgrade which runs in Adobe Air environment. http://www.earthbrowser.com/ [earthbrowser.com]

      It promises a future option, embedded customized/earthbrowser to put into websites for registered users. I think it will happen thanks to Adobe Air's flash roots.

      It is a shareware program.
  • by abolitiontheory (1138999) on Friday May 30, 2008 @02:55PM (#23602847)

    ... that lets you interact with the globe, draw markers, add layers or integrate with Google Maps ...

    Aww crap! I thought they meant real markers! ...

    Anyone know how to get sharpie out of LCD?

    • by gstoddart (321705) on Friday May 30, 2008 @03:04PM (#23602931) Homepage

      Aww crap! I thought they meant real markers! ...

      Anyone know how to get sharpie out of LCD?

      Take off and nuke the whole site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure. ;-)

      Cheers
    • by redxxx (1194349)

      Anyone know how to get sharpie out of LCD?
      Isopropyl Alcohol. Particularly if it is one with a shiny coating. The smooth coating will totally protect your monitor, and prevent the sharpie from adhering well.
    • Re:Real markers (Score:4, Informative)

      by dotancohen (1015143) on Friday May 30, 2008 @04:17PM (#23603913) Homepage

      ... that lets you interact with the globe, draw markers, add layers or integrate with Google Maps ...


      Aww crap! I thought they meant real markers! ...


      Anyone know how to get sharpie out of LCD?

      Despite what the manual says, paint thinner cleans LCD monitors just fine. Make sure you put the thinner on the rag, not directly on the screen. Added advantage: the fucking glossy laptop screen is not so glossy anymore. It actually came out more uniform than I would have though had I known beforehand that it would be less glossy.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Friday May 30, 2008 @02:56PM (#23602857) Homepage Journal
    3D models for inserting into Google Earth are made with SketchUp [wikipedia.org], which is a 3D desktop studio available only for Windows, and MacOS, not Linux. When will Google finally release a Linux SketchUp, or at least include its main modeling features into the Web version?

    Or even better, when will there be a simple way to use existing (and good) Linux 3D studio tools to make standard-format datasets that are easily and completely importable into Google Earth (whether desktop or Web)?

    Hell, at this point I'd even settle for a way to import the paths in a 2D PostScript (or PDF) file into something that makes them 2D lines/areas on a 3D canvas that I can put into Google Earth, rotated and positioned for at least an idea of what a fully 3D model would look like. But to do anything like that right now, I need a Mac or a Windows machine.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fotbr (855184)
      I'd be interested in any good linux 3d tools at all, but it seems the linux community is happy with blender, and doesn't seem to care that its interface is horrible (ie, the gimp syndrome -- "we want to be different, even at the cost of being good").

      IF you can tolerate blender's handicapped interface, you might be able to export into a form google earth can handle (or, as the forums will tell you "write it yourself").
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=allOsEHARo8

        Blender isn't any good, you say?
        • by fotbr (855184)
          I never said the engine wasn't good -- it appears to be pretty decent, and has for quite a while. My complaint is that the UI sucks if you're transitioning to it, that is all.
      • Art of Illusion is worth a look if the Blender interface is too daunting. It can export as .obj and extrude 2D shapes quite well...

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_of_Illusion [wikipedia.org]
        • by Doc Ruby (173196)
          Do you know anything I can use in Linux to import PostScript paths extracted from a PDF into a 3D model I can edit and export into Google Earth? That is in fact my main use case.
      • OR the "lets not noob up the interface of a image editor, so any old idiot can use it to get rid of red eye"

        Some things are hard, and the best interface to do hard things is a hard one, this isn't just being elitist, I have nothing against joe blogs getting rid of red-eye or making a cool little jpeg logo, but that's now what GIMP is made for, so dont bitch when its not easy.
        • by Zironic (1112127)
          In my experience the best interface to get hard work done is an easy one, as in intuitive. The time you spend fighting the interface is time that should have been spent getting work done.
        • by fotbr (855184)
          OR, "lets use something similar (not necessarily identical) so other people can convert easily"

          In the case of GIMP, it simply isn't a substitute for Photoshop for professional work, and the interface is a small part of the reason (mostly a lack of CMYK). And the Photoshop interface certainly isn't "hard" even to do the "hard" things, so I'm not sure where you get the "best interface for hard things is a hard one" bit.

          For 3d work (my real complaint), the blender engine is pretty decent, but the UI is holdin
        • by Haeleth (414428)

          Some things are hard, and the best interface to do hard things is a hard one, this isn't just being elitist, I have nothing against joe blogs getting rid of red-eye or making a cool little jpeg logo, but that's now what GIMP is made for, so dont bitch when its not easy.

          An interface that takes time to learn is one thing. I'm fine with that. I would much rather face a steep learning curve than have a bit of software that only takes an hour to master, but doesn't do anything useful.

          The problem with GIMP is n

    • Wine (Score:5, Informative)

      by tepples (727027) <tepples@gmaiBLUEl.com minus berry> on Friday May 30, 2008 @03:26PM (#23603191) Homepage Journal

      When will Google finally release a Linux SketchUp, or at least include its main modeling features into the Web version?

      Have you tried SketchUp in Wine [blogspot.com]? If you did, and it didn't work, have you submitted problem reports to the Wine team and to Google?

      • by DrEasy (559739)
        Ketchup in wine? Bleach!!!
      • by ELProphet (909179)
        As of May first, Wine AppDB says it works fine. That's not what GP is complaining about. GP is complaining that a company like Google who loves "standards" so much should be releasing their desktop apps for all platforms up front, not waiting until some random schmo spends his 20% time for 5 years porting it over.
        • GP is complaining that a company like Google who loves "standards" so much should be releasing their desktop apps for all platforms up front
          How much advertisement revenue can Google make for even Linux/x86, let alone Linux on other non-lockout-chipped platforms?
      • by Doc Ruby (173196)
        It failed in the same way that several reviews I saw said it might. Bug reports would be redundant, but evidently not enough to get Google to fix them.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Google Earth 3D models simply use COLLADA XML [khronos.org] format. Sketch up just exports it for you in this way.

      A lot of 3D modeling software supports export to COLLADA, which can be used in KML (google earth).

      For Example:
      Blender [illusoft.com]
      3DS Max [feelingsoftware.com]
      Maya [feelingsoftware.com]

      etc...
      • by Doc Ruby (173196)
        So I can download a whatever.dae file and its texture images [collada.org], change the filename from whatever.dae to whatever.kml , and upload that file into Google Earth? And I can download a Google Earth whatever.kml file, rename it to whatever.dae, and open that with Collada or those other apps?

        Is there a way to tell which version Google Earth is compatible with?
    • by dotancohen (1015143) on Friday May 30, 2008 @04:20PM (#23603949) Homepage

      When will Google finally release a Linux SketchUp, or at least include its main modeling features into the Web version?
      Write to them and ask them. You cannot expect them to guess that Linux users exist if you don't contact them, can you?

      While this might not really be the case at google, you really should write to Adobe (photoshop), Intuit (quicken) and other software houses to let them know that we want their products. I make it a point to write to one every week.
  • Currently this looks like it's only on Windows. I didn't see anything about when a Mac or Linux version might be available, did anyone else see anything?
  • What I want to see is a Google Mars with all the images of the probes/rovers organized in some way.
  • What's the gap between this and the existing Virtual Earth 3D plugin? http://www.google.com/earth/plugin/examples/samples/index.html [google.com] vs. http://dev.live.com/virtualearth/sdk [live.com].
    • by Haeleth (414428)
      Virtual Earth is, and always will be, Windows-only.

      Google Earth (the application) is cross-platform, so it's likely their plugin will become available cross-platform in due course.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30, 2008 @03:09PM (#23602993)
    The Browser Edition. Come on, you know you want to make it!
  • by Zerbey (15536) * on Friday May 30, 2008 @03:12PM (#23603025) Homepage Journal
    Well, it went mental and spawned three processes that happily chewed up my CPU and started eating memory as a side dish. Oh, and Firefox crashed.

    It's a beta, right? ;-)
  • exe? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Thelasko (1196535) on Friday May 30, 2008 @03:17PM (#23603067) Journal
    Who makes a Firefox plugin that's an .exe file? Seriously, Google needs to read the how to page [mozilla.org] and follow the standards.
    • Re:exe? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by BitZtream (692029) on Friday May 30, 2008 @03:25PM (#23603181)
      Well, using an out of process plugin is useful for ensuring that the browser remains reliable when the plugin experiences problems and crashes. Its also useful for sharing resources between applications via the out of process process (the exe).

      Those are just 2 reasons to do it, and its likely developers at Google know slightly more about making Mozilla plugins than you seem to think considering A) they pretty much had to read that page to make the plugin anyway, B) Google contributes to the Mozilla code base and has Mozilla developers on staff, and finally C) having delt with many Google engineers, I've yet to run into a twit who has made it past the God knows how many interviews it takes to get a job there, I.E. they tend to have more than a little clue.

      Perhaps you just aren't fully aware of their goals/plans/reasoning.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pembo13 (770295)
        I think he was referring to the use of XPIs
      • by Thelasko (1196535)
        I totally forgot that the developer might read Slashdot and get offended. Sorry, man. Next time release it as an XPI file.
      • having delt with many Google engineers, I've yet to run into a twit who has made it past the God knows how many interviews it takes to get a job there

        you can be clever as hell and have thick eyeglasses 2" deep but that does NOT mean they know how to engineer products.

        smart people OFTEN get products quite wrong.

        I encountered quite a few googlers and I saw mathematical brilliance but seriously lacking in everyday common sense.

        when you look for phd's you sometimes GET just that. not surprising, is it? not if
    • by bkr1_2k (237627)
      Did I miss something? I thought the exe was just an installer that installs the plugin for both IE and Firefox.
      • by Thelasko (1196535)

        I thought the exe was just an installer that installs the plugin for both IE and Firefox.
        Then why wouldn't they just release the .xpi file? Either they have something to hide, wanted it to be windows only, or only wanted to code it once for both IE and Firefox.
        • by Ash-Fox (726320)

          Then why wouldn't they just release the .xpi file?
          Because it isn't a extension, but a plugin?
    • Who makes a Firefox plugin that's an .exe file? Seriously, Google needs to read the how to page and follow the standards.

      Installing Extensions and Themes From Web Pages [mozilla.org] mentions something about the install method of an InstallTrigger object. In turn, that method's documentation [mozilla.org] mentions something about a whitelist. I assume the .exe method short-circuits around having to get the user to add each site to a whitelist through a (scary?) alert box.

      • by Thelasko (1196535)
        Very close, I don't think there is an alert box for whitelisting. I think you have to go into some config file to do it. The correct way to write a pluign is to submit it to Mozilla for review. For some reason, Google decided not to go that way.

        I'm not a developer though. That's just how I interparate this page. [wikipedia.org]
        • The correct way to write a pluign is to submit it to Mozilla for review.
          In that case, I assume the .exe method short-circuits having to register at addons.mozilla.org to download a sandboxed [mozilla.org] add-on or having to wait several months for an editor to review each version of an add-on and promote it from the sandbox.
    • What do you mean ANSYS has no undo button? Have you submitted a bug about it? Will check. I think Workbench has unlimited undo/redo.
      • by Thelasko (1196535)

        I think Workbench has unlimited undo/redo.
        I asked the rep a few weeks ago. You can delete items you performed previously in workbench (provided you know what it is) but there is no undo in the traditional sense.
        • Really? I don't know Ansys enough. They are acquiring Ansoft, and I know Ansoft products very well. One of the amazing thing about Ansoft is the super duper undo/redo. Not just in geometry ops. You could take a fully solved post processed project and edit the geometry. That will invalidate the solutions and all post processed plots and reports become grayed out. You undo the geometry edits, the solutions will come back and the plots will refresh themselves! You can export the current stack of operations as
  • Fucking Blog Spam (Score:5, Informative)

    by street struttin' (1249972) on Friday May 30, 2008 @03:31PM (#23603253)
    Try linking a real link instead. http://code.google.com/apis/earth/ [google.com]
  • nice, bot too early (Score:2, Informative)

    by javy_tahu (1045868)
    I'm waiting for Canvas3D to stabilize. Currently there is an Opera build http://my.opera.com/timjoh/blog/2007/11/13/taking-the-canvas-to-another-dimension [opera.com] for Windows and Mozilla has an extension https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/7171 [mozilla.org] Google should better invest more on that Mozilla Canvas3D extension.
  • Call me when it runs on linux
  • The real question is whether or not the flight sim easter egg is still included. :D
  • from the way all you people are bitching that you've never had to try to develop anything that uses the old Google Earth APIs. The choices are: COM API for Windows, an Apple Script API with something on the order or 5 actions, and the linux API, which oh wait, doesn't exist.

    This, however, will be a unified API for every platform, once it's ported ( this [google.com] says under installing the plug-in that support for other platforms is coming in future releases). And one which I can already tell you is light years bett
  • The Worldwind folks have shown that you can do this stuff in Java, too. Why not use a Java plugin? Before you say 'java is slow', try profiling a Java 3-D application and see where the CPU cycles are spent.
     
  • maps.google.com? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I never understood why anyone would bother with Google Earth when satellite view exists on maps.google.com [google.com].

    Of course it's also been years since I've tried Google Earth, so maybe they've added quite a bit extra functionality over maps.google.com.
  • The ability to chose your install location in Google Earth (you can in the pro version, not in the free version)

    and it can't find your browser if it isn't called iexplorer.exe and is located in the usual places.

    And etc etc.

    I suppose its clever they have made this embeddable thing, but I think they should have created a Google Earth URL a long time ago, people just could link to a place on earth in a link instead of forcing people to host a kml file.
  • When you download the rubbish Google installs an update, and an update service

    Wow, guess the days of Google as a friend is well and truly over.
  • I would love to see an example of this running on "googlepages" .

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