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We’d all love to travel and see what world outside of where we live has to offer. As much as we’d like to do that, expenses and other factors like international borders hinder us from experiencing what so many of those who use #travel on Instagram get to see. Thankfully, Google Earth has given us an alternative to go around the globe, even in just our pajamas.

Now, there are two versions of Google Earth: the basic version and the Pro edition. The only difference you need to know about the two of them is that you can do more with the Pro version like actually creating multimedia content. In order to experience what Google Earth has to offer, you have to download the software. Luckily, it’s a process that is fairly easy – just follow the instructions and you’re good to go.

But what if you don’t want to download the software? Is there a way to still enjoy traveling from one’s couch? Well, that’s what the Google Earth Plug-In is for. It allows you to enjoy the benefits of Google Earth from the comfort of your browser.

Is there anything different between these versions though? Are there features that can be accessed on one and not the other? Here are some of the differences:

Google Earth Pro is more advanced

Given that it was made for the business user, the Pro version of Earth lets you do more things. And even better, it’s absolutely free of charge despite the use of Pro in its name. Long story short: you had to pay to use it before but Google changed its mind in 2015. With the Pro version, you can

  • use the measurement tools to calculate distances and areas
  • make media content using Movie Maker
  • print photos with high resolution to use in presentations or reports
  • use large vector image files to map geographic data
  • make use of the Spreadsheet Importer in order to map addresses

With the plugin, you’re given access to whatever the basic Google Earth version can do. Don’t worry, there are pretty good features such as exploring the ocean, the moon, Mars, the sky and even going back in time to compare the landscape of the past to today.

Google Earth Pro is available across platforms

Google Earth Pro is available for Windows and Mac users while the basic version is available for Windows, Mac and Linux users. The plugin, on the other hand, is only available for the 32-bit Firefox and Internet Explorer (7-9 and 10-11 with Compatibility View).

Google Earth Pro will remain standing

The bad news for those who want to use Google Earth online is that Google deprecated the API way back in 2014 and will shut down at the end of 2016. This means that the plugin may not work come 2017 forcing users to switch to the standalone application. This is sad news for those who want to save on precious disk space.

Google Earth Pro is loaded with cool features and is worth installing. Then again, if you’re not using the advanced tools, the basic version is equally impressive.