Getting started with Google Earth


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Getting started with Google Earth

A computer screen displaying the Google Earth logo

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

The word FREE superimposed on Google Earth on a computer screen
The logos for Chrome, Edge, Safari, and Firefox browsers

Google’s Chrome browser

Google Earth is designed to be used in the Chrome web browser, but you can also use it in other browsers including Microsoft Edge, Safari and Firefox.

You can choose to download Chrome to your computer if it isn’t already installed. To check, 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.
  • 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 and click Run to start the installation. Then follow the prompts that appear on your screen.
A laptop computer screen displaying the Chrome browser logo
An icon of a padlock

eSafety tip

When you download a new desktop app, such as Chrome, make sure to get it from the official website or your device’s official app store. You should also scan the download with antivirus software before installing it.

You can find out more about antivirus software in our Using antivirus software course.

Starting Chrome

On most Windows computers, Chrome starts automatically after it finishes installing, so it’s ready to use.

If Chrome doesn’t start automatically, double click the Chrome icon on the desktop to start it.

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 Yes if you’re happy to use Chrome.

You can learn more about Chrome in our Browsing with Google Chrome course.

A laptop computer displaying the Google Search page
An illustration of the Explore Google Earth button

Starting Google Earth

When you’ve started Chrome, click in the Address bar and type After a moment you will see some information about what’s new in Google Earth.

When you’re ready, click Explore Google Earth. You can then click the arrow on the little tab in the middle of the screen to close the large white panel, which gets in the way of seeing the globe.

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.

A laptop computer screen displaying Google Earth
A smartphone displaying Google Earth

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 Play Store (for Android devices) or the App Store (iPhones 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 most 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 bird's eye view of your neighbourhood in the Find yourself on Google Earth! activity.

An illustration of the planet earth on a computer screen