Google owns and operates a variety of useful apps that are available to anyone free of charge. Most of them work on any device and browser, although not all of them, and Google gives preference to Android development when it comes to the mobile versions of this app. But there’s one cool Google application that used to require Chrome to work. Thankfully, that restriction is going away, as the app is now available on almost any browser.
Fans of Google’s amazing Earth app are probably well aware that the only way to access the app until today was using Chrome, which also happens to be the most popular web browser out there. If you don’t like Chrome for any reason, but want to be able to access Google Earth, you’ll be able to access the service from Edge, Firefox, and Opera, with support for other browsers coming soon, including Apple’s Safari.
Google reminds us in the short announcement that it’s a “big supporter” of open web standards. It’s been working for five years to bring Google Earth to as many browsers as possible. After a six-month public beta period, the full version of Earth is now available for three additional browsers.
Google says it was possible by moving Google Earth for Chrome to WebAssembly, the W3C web standard for native code to the web. That’s actually the reason why Google restricted it to Chrome before. The app was built using Native Client (NaCl), which wasn’t available elsewhere but Chrome.
Google is still working on polishing the experience on Edge, Firefox, and Opera, and bringing the app to other browsers, Safari included. Google Earth for the web is available at this link, and you can test it out in the web browser of your choice on the desktop, as long as that browser is supported.