Using the control menu


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Using the control menu

Animals herding around a watering hole in the desert

What's coming up

The control menu puts Google Earth's powerful features at your fingertips.

In this activity, we’ll get to know each of the options and how they can help you make the most of Google Earth.

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Google Earth controls

There is a video on the next slide that will show you more about Google Earth controls and what they can do.

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.

An illustration on where to find the Google Earth controls

Find the control menu

Google Earth has a lot to offer, and you can access extra features via the control menu.

The control menu appears down the left side of the screen as a row of six icons. See if you can find it on your version of Google Earth.

Find the map controls

On the bottom right of the screen are the map controls. You can learn about what these do in the Exploring Google Earth course.

For now, however, we are going to concentrate on the control menu we spoke of in the last slide.

An illustration on where to find the Google Earth map controls
An overview of the icons on the control menu for Google Earth

Explore the control menu

Look down the Control Menu on the left hand side of the screen, and you'll find six main features:

  • List
  • Search
  • Voyager
  • Die
  • My places
  • Share

We'll go through them one by one to explain how they can each help you get more from Google Earth.


Clicking the List icon displays a range of options for adding information to maps, as well as settings options for the map control menu that’s always present on the screen. Search and Voyager, which are always visible from the main control menu, are available here too.

The list menu icon on Google Earth - it looks a bit like a hamburger with 3 horizontal lines stacked on top of each other
The search menu icon on Google Earth - it looks like a magnifying glass


Search is the easiest way to find things on Google Earth. Enter an exact street address or a locality, and it will whisk you there.

An icon of a padlock

eSafety Tip

Predictive search anticipates what you're typing, and it is location-aware.

So, if you search for Tony's Pizza when you're looking at a map of Sydney, you'll get a different result than if you were looking at a map of Melbourne.


Clicking the ship’s wheel icon from the main control menu presents a range of Voyager multimedia guided tours.

Whatever your interests, Voyager opens up a world of adventure, we'll explore it further in the Take a virtual trip activity.

The Google Voyager icon on Google Earth - it looks like a ship's wheel
The My Places icon on Google Earth - it looks just like a bookmark

My Places

The My Places menu lets you save locations in Google Earth, just like bookmarks. That is handy for storing locations you visit frequently, and for sharing them with other people.

We’ll look at My Places in more detail in the activity Sharing with Google Earth.

The Die

The Die icon is like a taking mystery flight because you don’t know where you’ll end up! In fact, Google calls it I’m feeling lucky, because it transports you to random locations.

See how many times you have to click the icon before it chooses somewhere you've actually been!

The Die icon on Google Earth - it looks like a dice
The Share icon on Google Earth


The Share icon lets you send a location you’ve found on Google Earth as a link. You can share with friends using Facebook, Twitter or Google+.

You can also use Get a Link. This creates a web address for your location that you can paste into an email or any other application. It's an easy way to show family and friends what you've been looking at on Google Earth.


Well done. You’ve come to the end of the Using the control menu activity.

You've learned that the control menu icons are always visible down the left side of the screen, giving you easy access to features like Search, Share, My Places and Voyager.

A close up of the Google Earth Search bar
A high level view of Niagara Falls

What’s up next?

Next up, the Add Map Styles and Photos activity will help you get a lot more useful information from Google Earth.