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Google Earth

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CNET Editors' Rating 4.5 stars

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  • 1.0 stars

    "Requires OS X 10.8.3 and Chrome or Firefox for 3D"

    August 11, 2013  |   By zunipus

    Pros

    If you have a compatible setup, it's a great way to tour around planet Earth and a few other places.

    Cons

    UIREIf you don't have a compatible setup, don't bother. The lack of 3D on older OS X and non-WebGL browsers makes the application worthless. Don't bother. Google could have provided backwards compatibility but didn't bother. Thus 1/2 star to you Google. :-P

    Older OS X also hobbles some of the other features of the application, such as viewing from the app into the web's Google Maps. All you're going to get is a black window. And so on.

    Summary

    If you have a compatible setup, Google Earth is lovely, fast, a great way to tour the planet and beyond.

    BUT, this version uses WebGL exclusively for 3D rendering. Therefore, you are REQUIRED to use OS X 10.8.3 or above, AND a WebGL compatible web browser if you're using it via its plug-in on the Web. Otherwise, no 3D for you. Therefore, without a compatible system, you're screwed out of 3D, making Google Earth useless. Don't bother with this version. You'll need to get an older version compatible with your setup. Presumably version 6 doesn't have the high end requirements. Google still offer version 5 for OS X 10.4 via their website.

    The GUI is a mess, including some odds and ends that are too small to comprehend that also have no hot help. The basic original interface tools remain nice. But the plethora of odds and end are not explained well, causing you to have to experiment to figure out what stuff does. You'll then have to commit them to memory or be doomed to mess around the next time you use the app to figure its obtuse GUI out all over again.

    If you've bot the top notch compatible setup, great! If not, go find an older version or forget about bothering with Google Earth.

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