Google Earth is a great tool for a wide variety of use cases. Whether you’re a teacher taking your students on virtual tours around the world or you simply want to explore the earth from the comfort of your living room, Google Earth’s web and mobile platforms offer powerful features such as Street View, knowledge cards, distance measurements and more. Users can create, import and export projects using Google Drive as well as KML file types. As robust as these versions of Google Earth have become, there are many users that rely heavily on the advanced features that come with Google Earth Pro for Desktop.
In addition to the above features, the desktop version of Google Earth includes a variety of addons like a movie-making mode that gives you the ability to create “fly-by” videos as you navigate around the Earth environment. Other features include GPS and a fun little built-in flight simulator that lets you pilot an F-16 or SR22. Now, thanks to Linux apps, the full Google Earth Pro experience can be had on Chrome OS. While most users can likely get by with the web-based version, some may need the full functionality of the desktop version and installing it on a Linux-enabled Chromebook is a snap.
To install Google Earth Pro on your Chromebook, you will first need to make sure you have a device that supports Linux apps via the Crostini project. You can find a detailed list of supported platforms on the Crostini developer page here. If you are unsure of your Chrome OS device’s code name, you can find that list here. If you’re Chromebook is up to date and it supports Linux apps, you will find Linux(Beta) in the settings menu directly beneath the Apps tab. Next, you will need to enable Linux apps and update the container on your device. You can find these steps in the Command Line article here.
Now you’re ready to install Google Earth Pro. Head over to the Google Earth downloads page and grab the 64-bit .deb file for Linux. Open your Downloads folder from the Files App and double-click the Google Earth .deb file and wait for the installation to finish. Now, you should find the Google Earth app icon in your launcher. The application runs well enough on Chrome OS to use in place of a Windows or macOS device but you may notice the UI being a little finicky here and there. Still, this is a great example of a Linux application that can find some real use on Chrome OS in a variety of venues.