The free version of Google Earth has been merged with Google Earth Pro to become Earth Pro. Its tools have been improved and it remains free.
The Pro version of Google Earth, the version intended for use by businesses, originally cost $399 a year. However, in 2015 Google made it free and removed some features.
Google Earth Pro isn’t the most recent version of the software. The more recent version of Google Earth, version 9, was released in April for Chrome (see Google Earth Reduced To A Divisive Toy). It added a Voyager feature, that can be used to view guided tours led by scientists and experts but was otherwise seen as dumbed down.
The Pro version of Google Earth for Desktop can be used for creating and viewing maps on PC, Mac or Linux. It also lets users:
- Compute distances and areas using measurement tools
- Visualise, manipulate and export GIS data
- Use Movie Maker to produce media collateral
- Manipulate and export GIS data
- Go back in time with historical imagery.
The improvements to the merged version start with an anti-aliasing option for Earth Pro for Mac.
More general improvements include support for high-resolution displays, a better internal web browser, and better security. The performance when making movies has also been improved.
Various tools have been added or improved. There’s a new Repair Tool that helps when things go wrong. It can reset cache data and settings, and can also fix startup issues.
The Movie Maker tool has been updated with support for new video formats, and a Web Inspector tool has been added for KML balloons. KML is an international standard file format maintained by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC). It can be used to display geographic data in apps such as Google Earth. The format lets you pinpoint locations, add image overlays, and expose data.