Google today opened its Web-based version of Google Earth to browsers such as Firefox, Edge and Opera. The search giant first released the very useful virtual globe online in 2017. Google says “we are a strong supporter of open web standards” but because there are no standards available to support what it wants to do, Google Earth is only available on the web through Chrome’s Native Client (NaCl) technology.
This makes Google Earth the first of many of Google’s chrome sites. NaCI allows Google to bring its local C-plus application code to run directly in the Chrome browser and to maximize performance, smoothly zooming in and out of the virtual globe.
Google has been contributing to emerging Web standards such as WebAssembly for the past three years, which allow developers to introduce native code to the Web. On the one hand, Google has tested the transition from NaCI to WebAssembly over the past six months and has successfully brought google Earth to launch today for Firefox, Edge and Opera, although Safari is still not supported for technical reasons.
“We still have a lot of work to do,” the Google Earth team said in a blog post. “That is, to improve our experience in all of these browsers and increase support for Safari. Google revealed last year that Google Earth would support Safari once Apple added “better support for WebGL2” in its browser.
If you’re interested in trying Google Earth in Firefox, Edge or Opera, you can start right now.