If you like spending your lazy weekends zooming around the Earth and looking up all sorts of places that you’ve been to, want to go to, or never think you’ll ever be able to go to, then Google is going to give you a hand. And if you already purchased Google Earth Pro at some point previously, we feel bad to be the bearers of the news that Google has now made said product completely free.
Yes, Google has slapped a $400 discount on Google Earth Pro—presumably because not enough people were ponying up that much to make the revenue all that worth it versus the goodwill Google can receive for the gesture. That, or perhaps Google plans to use some of Google Earth’s capabilities in a larger way, like some kind of virtual reality-based announcement that will allow people to soar around the world in an even more realistic fashion. (So, might as well make the entire thing free right now.)
To be fair, there isn’t that much you can do in Google Earth Pro that you’re otherwise unable to access in Google Earth. You can print images at a much larger resolution (4800×3200) than before (1000×1000), for the few of you that will want to have physical copies of something you saw on the software tool. You can import a huge number of addresses to stick onto your Google Earth display as pins, and you can also record HD video of your digital travels. Google Earth Pro also comes with more tools for measuring distances between locations, if you’re trying to plot out a route.
“Over the last 10 years, businesses, scientists and hobbyists from all over the world have been using Google Earth Pro for everything from planning hikes to placing solar panels on rooftops. Google Earth Pro has all the easy-to-use features and detailed imagery of Google Earth, along with advanced tools that help you measure 3D buildings, print high-resolution images for presentations or reports, and record HD movies of your virtual flights around the world,” reads a blog post from Google.
There are still a few tiny hoops you’ll have to jump through in order to get Google Earth Pro for free. Download the app, first of all. After that, you’ll have to get a free Pro key for the software from Google, which will require you to toss some information about yourself over to the search giant. You’ll get the key in your email. After that, it’s time for some fun Earth exploration.