Search giant Google on Friday announced that the pro version of Google Earth, which was previously available for $399 (Dh1,465) per year, is now free for everyone to download and use.
The service was previously targeted at businesses but Google is now aiming at anyone and everyone interested in engineering, making 3D models of buildings, or even exploring their locality in high definition.
Why free? It didn’t say so.
“Starting today, even more people will be able to access Google Earth Pro: we’re making it available for free,” the search giant said in a blog post, without delving into the reasons behind doing so.
For the uninitiated, Google Earth Pro is a 3D interactive globe that can be used to aid planning, analysis and decision making. Businesses, governments and professional users from around the world use Google Earth Pro data visualisation, site planning and information sharing tools.
Now, anyone can download and use it (without having to pay an annual fee for it) and do all of the above and more.
Among several features, the software helps record and save 3D videos in real-time or a tour without interruption. “You can make a movie that follows the camera viewpoint to and from multiple locations. Publish on a web site, use it in a presentation, or send it via email and more,” says Google.
“Over the last 10 years, businesses, scientists and hobbyists from all over the world have been using Google Earth Pro for everything from planning hikes to placing solar panels on rooftops,” it notes.
“Google Earth Pro has all the easy-to-use features and detailed imagery of Google Earth, along with advanced tools that help you measure 3D buildings, print high-resolution images for presentations or reports, and record HD movies of your virtual flights around the world,” it adds.
For those interested in downloading the Google Earth Pro software, grab a free key here and then download Google Earth Pro for PC or Mac here.
For those ready to “have fun flying around the world”, just a word of advice – the software is heavy and has some minimum system requirements that you must check.
While it will work with systems with Pentium 3 and above, Google recommends at least a Pentium 4 processor clocked at 2.4GHz, 2GB of free hard drive space, at least 1GB of RAM and Windows 7 or Windows 8 (although XP will work too). For Mac users, Google recommends similar requirements and at least Mac OS X 10.6.8 or newer.