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Google Earth Launching For Free 405

Nathan Weinberg writes "Google launches Keyhole 3 today, rebranded Google Earth, and are dumping the subscription rate (except for a $20/year "plus" versions with prettier pictures) available soon at The program lets you fly around a 3D globe, with overhead satellite photos, tilted 45-degree photos, 3D rendered buildings, and overlays that display everything from roads to hotels to bike routes. I have a lot of info and screenshots at InsideGoogle, and Search Engine Watch has a big writeup. With yesterday's Google Video release, this is shaping up to be a major week for the search giant."
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Google Earth Launching For Free

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  • Linux (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bcmm ( 768152 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @02:25PM (#12933810)
    Anyone tested this in Wine (or something with better 3D support like Cedega) yet? Any luck?
    • Re:Linux (Score:3, Informative)

      by budgenator ( 254554 )
      won't run under wine on my machine, but I didn't expect it to, when a page talks about what video cards it runs with you can be pretty sure an OS emulator is out of the question.
    • Doesn't seem to be working. Tested with Wine 20050524 and Cedega 4.3. Barfs at the installer already.

    • Re:Linux (Score:3, Informative)

      by gabebear ( 251933 )
      No go on my machine (Debian Sarge)

      The installer failed with regular Wine, with WineX 3.3-1 it installed but still wouldn't run.

      Since they are working on a Mac version I imagine they will also at least look into releasing a Linux port.

    • Direct X Google Earth "no worky" with my VMware Windows XP Pro either. But I did not expect it too, either.


    • No go on the latest cedega. It installs if you set winver to win2k. nt40 and winxp crap out on the installer, and win98/winme the installers says OS in not compatable. Or at least it did, now I can't get it to be happy with win2k either.

      After installation, it chokes on a missing ATL.DLL. Putting an atl.dll from a dll download site into the fake windows system32 directory leads to more 0xdeadbeef stuff in kernel32.dll, advapi32.dll, etc.

      Hopefully they'll do a linux native, if not wine friendly version
    • Re:Linux (Score:4, Informative)

      by dboli42 ( 859679 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @03:44PM (#12934614)
      It works under wine!!!! Version 20050111-r1. I had to switch to fluxbox after it repeatedly crashed kde, it uses qt so maybe that was problems, its also somewhat unstable and requires working opengl
  • I get a CRC error when I try to unpack the .exe

    Yeah, yeah, yeah... I know. IT'S BEEEEEETAAAAA.

    Google should change their logo to put that little Beta under the 'le'.
  • Wow! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by drewzhrodague ( 606182 ) <drew@zhrod a g u e . n et> on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @02:26PM (#12933824) Homepage Journal
    Looks like we need to take advantage of this to plot Wi-Fi Everywhere []. Rock on, guys, see you at the next interview interval.
  • Better (Score:5, Informative)

    by m85476585 ( 884822 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @02:26PM (#12933825)
    It is like NASA World Wind [], but better.
    • Re:Better (Score:3, Informative)

      by shellbeach ( 610559 )
      It is like NASA World Wind, but better.

      Except for one tiny little issue that I'm surprised no one on this site has picked up on: World Wind is open source, whereas Google Earth is not.

      I've been playing around with World Wind for a while, and it's just fantastic stuff. I'll take the OSS solution any day ...
  • by conner_bw ( 120497 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @02:26PM (#12933827) Journal
    Wait... Sorry, that should have read:

    Google Earth Free As In Beer Store Locator.

  • Wow (Score:4, Funny)

    by sosume ( 680416 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @02:26PM (#12933828) Journal
    This is the best web application I have seen for years. Now I will be able top spy on my neighbours from the other side of the house!
  • C'mon...
    • Yeah... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Svartalf ( 2997 )
      Google, you're all about Linux- why can't ya come up with a Linux (and a MacOS X) version, hm?
      • Interestingly, they nod to the Mac community:

        1. Google Earth is a broadband, 3D application that not all computers can run.
        2. Apple Macintosh computers are not supported at this time (but we are working on it).
        3. Windows-based desktop PCs older than 4 years old may not be able to run it.
        4. Windows-based notebook PCs older than 2 years old may not be able to run it.
      • Re:Yeah... (Score:3, Insightful)

        They bought this software to another company, they didn't started it from scratch. So, I find reasonable that they are focusing on getting the first release out, then consider porting to another's possible that the software depends too much in windows-specific things to be ported to linux at all.
  • No Mac support? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by illtron ( 722358 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @02:28PM (#12933857) Homepage Journal
    Aw man, c'mon Google!
  • This is amazing (Score:5, Informative)

    by Otik2 ( 317009 ) < minus painter> on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @02:31PM (#12933881) Homepage
    Wow, this is great. The images are better than what they have for Google Maps, at least for my house (I can zoom in a lot farther). And the tilting and rotating are really fun. They have a few famous sightseeing places included by default, and just rotating and zooming around the Three Sisters or Yosemite was almost breathtaking. Integrating with their direction and local services is probably a good idea, though I doubt I'll use it much, but the images themselves are very well done. Good job, Google.
  • by doormat ( 63648 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @02:31PM (#12933882) Homepage Journal
    Its actually pretty addictive for a GIS geek like myself. Plus it was neat to have it help me plan my camping trip this weekend.

    It totally blows away any geographical user interface ESRI or Autodesk or anyone else has. They should be embarrassed with their current ArcIMS and MapGuide products - such rudimentary interfaces and poor performance.

    Whats even more interesting is the Google Earth Enterprise suite. Being able to load my own satellite data and GIS data into this would be interesting. But like I've said before in other posts about google maps, the biggest problem for GIS groups would be the lack of an "Identify" tool (perhaps its there but I havent seen it in any of the screenshots). And still no scale bar at the bottom either, though they do have a north arrow.
    • It totally blows away any geographical user interface ESRI or Autodesk or anyone else has.

      I dunno about looks just like ArcGlobe [] to me. Except for the 'free' part of course.

      So are you as bummed as me that you didn't realize Google was hiring GISers? :)

    • by vhold ( 175219 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @04:20PM (#12935037)
      I was a Keyhole subscriber for a little over a year before google bought them.

      As nice of an improvement the Google Earth software is, overall the product has become worse since google bought it.

      The overall resolution has been decreased from many covered areas and super high-res areas have been removed entirely.

      You used to be able to clearly make out the exact shapes of cars in the SF Bay Area, now they are blurry colored blobs. In the super high res areas, you could pretty much identify the model of most cars and sometimes even make out individual people.

      If you are a long time subscriber like me, google placates you with an option to login to the 'legacy' database.. but if you are new.. no dice.

      Doesn't that seem strange? I really hope they reintegrate the higher res data, it is profoundly better.

      I'd like to give them the benefit of the doubt that when they increased their coverage area they had technical issues with the highest res data, but it's been awhile now and they havn't changed their stance of "Oh.. umm yea..login to legacy.." since the new primary database came out.. so I'm fairly worried.
    • Camping (Score:3, Insightful)

      by freeweed ( 309734 )
      Speaking of which, for those of us into climbing/hiking, for most of the Canadian Rockies (Three Sisters in Canmore is included as a default sightseeing point, yay!) the resolution and elevation are sufficient to get a general idea of what you're heading into. I've pored over topo maps and the like, but you never get the sense of what you're getting into.

      I've used the tilt/rotate and careful zooming on some of the areas I've been this summer so far, and it's positively creepy. Having satellite textures map
  • by caluml ( 551744 ) <> on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @02:31PM (#12933886) Homepage
    Minimum configuration:

    * Operating system: Windows 2000, Windows XP
    * CPU speed: Intel&#174; Pentium&#174; PIII 500 MHz
    * System memory (RAM): 128MB
    * 200MB hard-disk space
    * 3D graphics card: 3D-capable video card with 16MB VRAM
    * 1024x768, 32-bit true color screen
    * Network speed: 128 kbps ("Broadband/Cable Internet")
    I/m getting a little tired of Google completely forgetting the numerous Linux and Unix users.
  • The most giving and innovative collection of people in the world? It's cliched to say, but holy crap every day it seems like something amazing is done by this company. Big ups.
  • by Stavr0 ( 35032 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @02:34PM (#12933918) Homepage Journal
    painting waypoint, tracks and routes over the maps?
    • Just answered my own question: Directory of C:\Program Files\Google\Google Earth Plus

      2005-06-25 15:15 434 241 GoogleEarth.exe
      2005-06-20 15:00 368 640 gpsbabel.exe
      2 File(s) 802 881 bytes
      gram Files\Google\Google Earth Plus
  • by Sebastian Jansson ( 823395 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @02:34PM (#12933920) Homepage
    Well, I guess Slashdot already have a quite complete coverage of Google stuff, but if you wan't to beat the rush for some hours I recommend the Google Blog [] (with RSS)
  • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @02:34PM (#12933922)
    Won't be long before someone comes up with a version of Hell. Oh, wait a minute. I forgot that AOL cornered that market. I'm sure Microsoft is working on something, and an open source version shouldn't be too far behind. Although it's a bit hard to improve on hot, hotter, and hottest.
  • by mcg1969 ( 237263 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @02:35PM (#12933930)
    Q: How can Google afford to give away so much for free?

    A: Volume.
  • I just "splurged" and bought myself a $29.95 subscription to Keyhole a few days ago. Now what?

    Man, just my luck. Just when I thought being able to show girls how I zoomed into their backyard and saw a fuzzy sattelite photo of them sunbathing topless was gonna get me laid. Now every Joe Schmo geek will be able to do it.

    I guess I'll just stick to writing some social [] network [] things until it finally happens for me.
    • I beleive that you get earth plus. I hope so since I paid for keyhole also.
    • The satellite photos are not taken in realtime, nor are they clear enough to make out anything as small as a person sunbathing topless. There are many reasons why this is really cool, but by making yet another can't-get-laid joke, you're just being intensely lame.
    • I guess I'll just stick to writing some social network things until it finally happens for me.

      I know the creator of, and he was getting girls long before thefacebook. While something like that might marginally help, if you have 0 social skills it won't make any difference.

  • Patents (Score:2, Funny)

    by VanWEric ( 700062 )
    I believe Google is infringing on prior art on the whole "Earth" thing. They are attempting to rebrand it, push it as an original and then patent it away from the original creator - God.

    God will soon be unable to continue providing his "competing" Earth service due to rigorous patent laws, and everyone will PERISH - All because Google has the legal power to take a page from MS's book and assert that it was their idea in the first place.

    Please contact your local congress(wo)man today and let hir know of t
  • Considering the pace at which Google is moving with it's new products, looks like future computers will be needing just a web-browser to do most of the daily work. Pity we need an OS to run a browser.
  • Wow,

    What a great way to visualize approaches to airports you haven't been to before. Just go to the airport you want, tilt the view angle and line up on the runway and you've got a perfect perspective of what the surrounding environs look like. No more trying to blindly search for the airport as you go to a new one. You can research ahead of time and get all your landmarks down pat!
  • somthing about Google and Earth in the same URL excites me.
  • Does it run in Wine? Their web page mentions the use of OpenGL for rendering, which is obviously a good sign... anyone tried that?
  • That's all I've got to say. That app is AWESOME.

    The guys at MapQuest have got to be feeling like total losers these days. It's hard to believe I once thought MapQuest was cool.
  • Is it just me, or does anyone else wonder how long this service will be available to the general public for free?

    I can see the Dept of Homeland Security not liking this project one bit as anyone anywhere can get the layouts of every city and street with a broadband connection.

    Don't get me wrong, I think this is a great tool, but i feel it won't exist without debate.

  • I've been a Keyhole LT subscriber for a while now so I got to test Google Earth betas for a couple weeks now. It's pretty nice, but they actually removed one of my favorite features. In one of the betas there was the ablility to measure area by just drawing a polygon on the map with the measure tool, then it vanished! I really want that one back, it's great when looking for houses and such. For simple rectangular shapes it's not a big deal because you can still measure in 1 dimension and just do the math, b
  • Word of warning, for those that are old enough to remember when programs used to ask by default where you wanted to install them:

    GoogleEarth installs in c:\program files. No option is given, unless you choose "custom" install.

    Not a show-stopper, but I really wish developers hadn't moved to that model. I have multiple partitions for a reason! :)
  • This makes me wonder if the US goverment would see this as a security risk as it gives such detailed info that terrorists could use against them. It wouldn't suprise me if this gets shut down for that reason.
    • Pick a technology and its benefit:

      Technology: the wheel
      Benefit: mobility

      This makes me wonder if the US government would see inventing the wheel as a security risk as it gives such mobility that terrorists could use against them. It wouldn't surprise me if the wheel gets shut down for that reason.

      Technology: the Internet
      Benefit: gathering information

      This makes me wonder if the US government would see the Internet as a security risk as it gives such easy access to gathering information that terro

  • Who else read this and thought Google had started launching space probes and satellites for free?

    They have to do something with the exhaust from all their server farms... pipe it all into a single tube, and make the worlds largest blow-dart gun that can launch into space :)
  • by yellowbkpk ( 890493 ) * on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @03:21PM (#12934348)
    I know this is really just a pipe dream because Google wouldn't do it, but I could see this being very useful in a car computer application. I have been doing some heavy duty searching and there just isn't a good app for in-car navigation available to the general public.

    If Google allowed you to cache their street data and then project colors over the topo maps instead of the "streaming" satellite images, this would be a killer navigation aid for in-car usage. Point of Interest and Address data could be stored in a few gigabytes (they do it on DVDs nowadays) on a harddrive and updated every night when you drive in to the garage (over Wifi).

    Hackers...take your mark, get set, GO!
  • I like the map & satellite imagery Google has given for the Earth. My question: why stop there?

    Okay, so you see the "Map" and "Satellite" links in the upper right ... why not include ... "Moon" as well? In fact, we have the imagery for other celestial orbs ... why not Mars? Mercury?

    In short, why stop at Google Earth?
  • by Sprotch ( 832431 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @03:37PM (#12934537)
    Should you consider that the "plus" version is not worth the 30 USD you shelled out for it three days ago, Google offers you a refund. The refund is pro-rated according to the number of months of the year you have been using your subscription.

    Here []
  • Edit (Score:3, Informative)

    by Nathan Weinberg ( 836684 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @03:43PM (#12934610) Homepage
    I think it goes without saying that I wish I could update TFA. When I wrote it at 1 AM, 13 hours before it hit /., Earth hadn't yet been uploaded to the web, so "launching" in the title and "available soon" in the article haven't been accurate for many hours. Also, I would have mentioned the enterprise versions of Earth, which can cost a butt-load of money for those interested.
  • by vectorian798 ( 792613 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @03:46PM (#12934645)
    I am pissed off that everytime something innovative comes out, someone has to be a token Slashdot user and say 'No Linux Version' or 'No *nix? This sucks' or whatever other equivalent you can pull out of Slashdot's archives.

    I was checking out the comments on Threshold 5 and was surprised to find half the comments along these same lines!!!

    This is a FREE PROGRAM. It is FREE. It is also damn innovative, one of a kind (well...not quite, but for the features it has, definitely), and they even took the time to make it run on DirectX and OpenGL.

    My gut instinct tells me that there will be a Linux Port sometime - it's in freakin' beta people quit your bitching.

    Even if there isn't a linux port, you shouldn't be complaining because someone has to take the time to code all that - are you willing to go put in the time and do that work? I thought not. Now shut up while I go fly through San Francisco checking out Google Earth's awesomeness in 3D.
    • by Panoramix ( 31263 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @05:47PM (#12936117) Homepage
      I am pissed off that everytime something innovative comes out, someone has to be a token Slashdot user and say 'No Linux Version' or 'No *nix? This sucks' or whatever other equivalent you can pull out of Slashdot's archives.

      I agree, to some extent. It always annoys me when people complain about free software, as if they had some right to it. It is a gift. Complaining about something that was given to you is pretty lame, indeed.

      However, the lack of a GNU/Linux version is very frustrating, so I also understand the feeling. See, I do not have a Windows machine. I do have valid reasons (at least valid and important to me) for not having one, so I do not even intend to get one in the foreseeable future. So I will not be able to run this software, when otherwise I would be all over it.

      This is my choice, of course, so I am not complaining. It is just very frustrating.

      Even if there isn't a linux port, you shouldn't be complaining because someone has to take the time to code all that - are you willing to go put in the time and do that work?

      I am certain that many people here would gladly "take the time to code all that", for free even, if they only could. But this is not an open source app, so that is not possible.

      Come to think about it, this could make a great project. GPL'ed clone of Google Earth, anyone?

  • by ubergoober ( 151136 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @04:35PM (#12935225)
    Download Stellarium at [] and you can pull up our night skies, only thing you need is your Lat/Long and a form of reference (conveniently provided by Earth) to get your bearings. Select an appropriate remote location in G-earth away from city lights and voila, instant geeky-but-still romantic date. Just add wine and an appreciation for the starry nights.
  • Flight Simulator (Score:3, Interesting)

    by josh_freeman ( 114671 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @04:41PM (#12935304)
    Was I the only one that thought a flight simulator + google Earth = hours and hours of fun?
  • by lullabud ( 679893 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @06:01PM (#12936252) Homepage
    except for a $20/year "plus" versions with prettier pictures
    Uh, yeah, that and the ability to communicate with external GPS receivers to manage waypoints and track logs, which is a HUGE plus for those of us who like to get out and explore the earth in meatspace. Also, there is currently no good software to do this on the Mac, and although Google Earth doesn't currently support Mac, the site does say that they are working on it, which is an even bigger bonus for me since that's one of the only reason's I use a PC outside of work. I had e-mailed Keyhole before Google bought them and they said they weren't planning on making a Mac version... Thank God that Google bought them and is setting that right. I'll definitely pay for the plus version when it comes out for Mac.
  • Dear Linux users... (Score:3, Informative)

    by alex_ware ( 783764 ) <alex DOT ware AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @06:16PM (#12936411) Homepage
    seeing as so many of you have started threads there is no main one to post this [] to, look at the screenshot. There IS A LINUX VERSION.
  • by e**(i pi)-1 ( 462311 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @07:35PM (#12937030) Homepage Journal
    Google earth is fantastic. It worked very well for me with vmware workstation 5.0 under linux. I had to select OpenGL at the startup of liveearth. When selecting Divx, liveearth will lock up terribly under vmware and you need to do remove the program and and reinstall to get rid of the broken cache. Here is a screenshot []from the building I work in.
  • by Phrak ( 882783 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @09:43PM (#12947162)
    Google have closed their downloads for Earth.
    See [] for mirrors.
    Not sure which version is the latest, but MajorGeeks have "Google Earth 3.0.0336 Beta"

The party adjourned to a hot tub, yes. Fully clothed, I might add. -- IBM employee, testifying in California State Supreme Court