Google Announces Google Earth API To Retire December 2015


Google this week announced that it will be ending the Google Earth API on December 12, 2015.  The death of the API, which allows web developers to quickly integrate Google Earth’s 3D mapping data to their web content, comes as a result of increased scrutiny of browser security.  Recent announcements from both Google Chrome and Firefox sealed the API’s fate, as explained by Google Maps API Product Manager Ken Hoetmer:

…the (Google) Earth API is built on a technology called the NPAPI plugin framework, and recently, for security reasons, both Chrome and Firefox have announced they’re removing support for this framework. These security reasons, combined with dwindling cross-platform support (particularly on mobile devices), had made building applications that leverage the Earth API untenable for developers.

Therefore, after careful consideration, we have decided to retire the Google Earth API. Per our deprecation policy, the API will be supported until one year from today and will be turned off on December 12, 2015.

The Google Earth API has seen a precipitous drop in users recently (Chrome users launching the Google Earth plugin has dropped from 9.1% to 0.1% over the past year), so it is doubtful that it will be missed.  And Hoetmer’s comments tease of new features in the works:

Google Earth has a proud legacy, which continues with the new Google Earth for Android, powered by a brand new renderer. 3D is in our blood, and while we can’t announce anything just now, we look forward to sharing more exciting product news in the future.

What those new products entail is a mystery, but considering the increasingly tight relationship between Google and NASA, this most likely won’t be the last time Google looks down at the Earth from orbit.

If you have any thoughts or comments, please leave them below, or post on Google+, Facebook or Twitter!

[button link=”” icon=”fa-external-link” side=”left” target=”blank” color=”285b5e” textcolor=”ffffff”]Source: Google Geo Developers Blog[/button]

Last Updated on November 27, 2018.


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