Google Earth, Now with Mac OS X Support
Article by George Norman
On 04 Dec 2008
The truth about Google Earth is that it is a very useful and very popular application. Why then make it available only for Windows-based systems and not for Macs? That question no longer needs answering because Google has recently released a Firefox and Safari plug-in that allows Mac OS X powered machines to run Google Earth.

While we more than welcome Google’s software, there is one question that comes up. Why does the plug-in weigh in at almost 50MB? As one Mac user put it in a Google Groups forum post, “I'm sorry for being a jerk, but why is the plugin for the Mac 47 Mb! Holy crap! It would be faster for the user to download Google Earth itself, then get the KMZ. The plugin for Windows is a few megabytes...what's the scoop?”


According to the Google Earth development team, the size of the plug-in is rather large simply because they had to fit in binaries for both PPC and Intel. For the time being users that want to run Google Earth on their Mac OS X (version 10.4 and upwards of that) will have to contend with the file’s rather large size – some shrinkage measures will be taken into consideration in the near future, but Google did not provide any specifics.

In related news, Google and their Google Earth application came under criticism earlier this week when it came to light that some of the terrorist attackers implicated in the Mumbai incident used the aforementioned application to navigate through the city. On the other hand, what do you think the aid agencies involved in relief operations used to get around? Google Earth, of course. To my mind Google is not to blame here; these terrorists could have simply picked up a traditional map and used it instead. It is like saying that we should blame Microsoft’s Windows OS for the attack, simply because at the time there was no way of using Google Earth on Mac OS X.

Tags: Google, Google Earth, Firefox, Safari, Apple, Mac OS X
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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