Tom Warren, the Verge:
Google is opening up its web-based version of Earth to browsers like Firefox, Edge, and Opera today. The search giant originally launched Google Earth on the web back in 2017, and axed its desktop apps at the same time. Google says “we are big supporters of open web standards,” but Earth launched on the web with Chrome-only Native Client (NaCl) technology as there wasn’t a standard available to support what it wanted to do. This resulted in Earth becoming one of the first of many Chrome-only sites from Google.
“We still have some work to do,” notes the Google Earth team in a blog post. “Namely polishing our experience across all these browsers and adding support for Safari.” Google revealed last year that Earth would support Safari once Apple adds “better support for WebGL2” in the browser.
For what it’s worth, I changed my Safari user agent and Google Earth ran fine, for the most part. I didn’t notice any broken features or bugs, but I also did not test it thoroughly. It started to run a little slow when I turned on animated clouds; Chrome did not exhibit the same lag. Safari also ran Google Earth with less RAM and far lower CPU consumption than Chrome, though I’m not sure if some private API jiggery-pokery explains that.
By the way, the blog post announcing this change was posted to Medium. Why? Is the Google Earth team aware that they have a blog on Google’s own top-level domain, or that the company still runs a blogging platform?