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

It's completely free to use Google Earth and 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, 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 to have 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. They are continuing to work hard 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 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.

When the browser window opens, simply type into the Search bar and click on the Google Earth link to start exploring.

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.

Downloading and installing Chrome

On the next slide is a video to show you how to install Chrome onto a Windows laptop.

On the next slide, click the ‘play’ button to watch the video. You can also click anywhere on the video to pause or restart it.

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 (for Android devices) or the App Store (iPhone and iPads).


Well done. You’ve reached the end of the Getting started with Google Earth activity. You've learned that Google Earth is free to use but that you need to have Google's Chrome web on your desktop or laptop computer.

A photo of the Earth from space.
A photo of the Christ the Redeemer statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Next up

Next up, the Find yourself on Google Earth! activity will help you find your own house in Google Earth, zooming down from space for a bird's eye view of your backyard.