Over six years ago we introduced the Google Earth API, enabling developers to build rich 3D mapping applications in the browser, using JavaScript. And over the years, developers have built quite a number of fascinating applications.

However, the 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.

For the duration of the deprecation period, the set of supported browsers is as follows. Because of the recent Chrome and Firefox announcements, support on those browsers extends only to the latest browser version that supports NPAPI.

  • Microsoft Windows (XP, Vista, 7, and 8)
    • Google Chrome 5.0-39.0 (32-bit)
    • Internet Explorer 7-9, and 10-11 with Compatibility View (32-bit) (Note that the Windows 8 browsing mode with Internet Explorer does not support plugins.)
    • Firefox 11.0-34.0
  • Apple Mac OS X 10.6 or later (any Intel Mac)
    • Google Chrome 5.0-39.0 (32-bit)
    • Safari 3.1+
    • Firefox 11.0-34

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.