Getting started with Google Earth


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Getting started with Google Earth

A photo of a woman holding a tablet with the Eiffel Tower in Paris pictured on it.

What's coming up?

Google Earth is completely free to use and it's simple to get it up and running on your computer.

In this activity, you'll learn where to find Google Earth and how to get it on your computer.

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Google Earth is free

Google Earth is free for anyone to use. To use it on your computer, open your web browser and visit

An illustration of Google Earth showing that it is free to use.
A photo of the Google Chrome icon on a screen. This shows that the device has downloaded Google’s Chrome browser and it is ready to use.

Google’s Chrome browser

When Google Earth was first launched, you needed Google’s Chrome browser for it to work. More recently, Google has started to support other browsers to use Google Earth in addition to Chrome, including Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Opera. Google is working to release Google Earth for other web browsers as well.

If your browser doesn't yet support Google Earth, you could download Chrome to get yourself started. To check if Chrome is already installed, use your computer’s Search function to look for it, or find the Chrome icon in your computer’s Applications folder.

Installing the Chrome browser

To install Chrome on a Windows desktop or laptop computer:

  • Visit and click Download Chrome.
  • You may need to choose where you’d like to save the file, such as the Desktop. Don't worry if this step is missed.
  • Next, a file will appear in the bottom left of your window as it downloads. It may have the name ChromeSetup.exe or something similar. Double-click on this to start installing Chrome. You will then need to click Run to start the installation. Then follow the prompts that appear on your screen.
An illustration of a laptop with Google’s Chrome browser icon on the screen ready to use.
A padlock representing online safety.

eSafety tip

Google’s Chrome browser is a very well-respected and widely used browser, so don’t have any fears about downloading it to your device.

Starting Chrome

On most Windows 10 computers, Chrome starts automatically after it’s been installed, so it’s ready to use.

An illustration of a laptop with Google’s Chrome browser open and the words ‘Google Earth’ in the search bar.
A photo of a tablet with Google’s Chrome browser open and someone is about to search for something.

Starting Chrome if it doesn’t happen automatically

If Chrome doesn’t start automatically, then you’ll need to double-click the Chrome icon on the desktop.

You’ll be asked if you want to make Chrome your default browser. Click No if you want to keep using your current browser for regular web searches, or click Yes if you’re happy to use Chrome.

Starting Google Earth

When you've started your browser, click in the Address bar and type, then click on the Launch Earth button.

A screenshot of Google Earth’s homepage, including the Launch Earth button.

Staying online

You need to be connected to the internet while you're using Google Earth so it can provide you with the latest information.

The faster your internet connection, the better Google Earth will look on your computer. With slower connections, Google Earth images will be slow to appear on your screen.

An illustration of Google Earth’s homepage.
An illustration of how Google Earth looks on a mobile device.

Google Earth and mobile devices

Google Earth is best viewed on a larger screen, but you can still use it on your mobile devices.

To install Google Earth on your smartphone or tablet, download the free Google Earth app from Google Play Store (for Android devices) or the Apple App Store (iPhone and iPads).


Well done. You’ve completed the Getting started with Google Earth activity. You've learned that Google Earth is free to use, can be used on supported web browsers and that you need a good Wi-Fi connection to get the most of what it has to offer.

Next up, we'll show you how you can find your own home in Google Earth, zooming down from space for a birds eye view of your neighbourhood in the Find yourself on Google Earth! activity.

A photo of the Earth from space.