Google Earth is one of the best web browsing encounters, and yet it worked only in Google Chrome— so far.
Google revealed Wednesday that Earth now operates in its browsers Chrome, Edge and Opera. The change comes in a trial phase of six months and was made possible by switching Google Earth to Web Assembly, a web-enabled interface.
Google originally built Earth with the Native Client-only Chrome solution. Nevertheless, since then the organization has followed the Web assembly standard, it has made sense to move to the new standard one of its popular Web applications. Google ended Native Client support in late 2019 by saying: “The lively environment surrounding web assembly makes it more suited for new and existing high-performance web applications.” However, Safari is still not supported by Apple, although Google says it functions.
“We continue to work to help as many browsers as possible, and we will keep you up-to-date,” said the company in a blog post.
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I tried Google Earth quickly in Firefox, and it was like it was in Chrome, perhaps a little bit more slowly. Top of the page you’ll find an “experimental” Earth edition. Google Earth’s Safari page will only send you the message that the app is not yet licensed.
The transition to Web Assembly is critical for Google Earth. Though Chrome is by far the most popular desktop browser, with Netmarketshare’s 67.73 % share of the market, while Firefox and Edge have 8.83 % and 5.77 %. With 3.6% and 1.48 corresponding market share, Safari and Opera are far behind.
Google says Google Earth will bring the W3C Web standard of indigenous coding to the Cloud by bringing Google Earth to the web for Chrome. This is essentially why Google previously restricted it to Chrome. The app has been developed using Native Client (NaCl), which was not other than Chrome available.