Google Earth comes to more browsers, thanks to WebAssembly
By Jessi Beck, Software Engineer, and Jordon Mears, Tech Lead Manager, Google Earth
At Google we are big supporters of open web standards. When we created Earth for web, we wanted as many people as possible to be able to use it. For the past five years, we’ve been on a journey to bring Google Earth to as many browsers as possible; meeting people where they are regardless of technology choice. And over the past few weeks, we’ve taken some big steps toward these goals.
After six months of a public beta, we are now making Google Earth accessible on Firefox, Edge and Opera browsers. This was made possible by moving Google Earth for Chrome onto WebAssembly (Wasm), the W3C web standard for bringing native code to the web.
Since the initial launch of Google Earth on web; it has been accessible using the Chrome browser. This is because it was built using Native Client (NaCI), which was a Chrome-only solution. Back then, this was the only way we could make sure that Earth would work well on the web. Much has changed since that time and WebAssembly has emerged as the leading open standard, with browser support maturing greatly over the past few years.
We still have some work to do. Namely polishing our experience across all these browsers and adding support for Safari. We’re continuing to work on supporting as many browsers as possible, and we’ll keep you posted on any new developments. If you haven’t tried Earth on web yet, check it out — we’ll be doing our part behind the scenes to speed you along on your journey.