Google today announced that it is sunsetting the Google Earth API. The company says its reasoning for shutting the API is that both Firefox and its own Chrome browser are removing support for Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface plugins due to security reasons. A lack of cross-platform support, specifically on mobile devices, also contributed to the decision to shutter the Earth API.

Google says that support for the Earth API will officially be turned off on exactly a year from today, December 12, 2015, per its deprecation policy. Due to Firefox and Chrome ending support for NPAPI, however, compatibility with the Google Earth API will be hit and miss, even before it’s officially shut off. The Google Earth API was introduced over six years ago and has allowed developers to build a variety of applications with gorgeous 3D rendering.

Google Earth will continue to be present on Android devices in the new Google Earth Android app, which is powered by an all-new renderer. Google says that “3D is in [its] blood” and that it has plenty of news relating to it coming as we head into 2015.

The full break down of support for the Google Earth plugin is below:

  • 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

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About the Author

Chance Miller


Chance currently writes for both 9to5Google and 9to5Mac, in addition to 9to5Toys.