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This may come as bad news for some, but it appears that Google is no longer interested in keeping its Google Earth API up. This change will be effective starting with the 11th of January, 2017, but it was announced quite a long time ago.

We can go as far back as December 2014 to find the moment when Google announced the future termination of the API. The developer more than likely wanted to terminate the Google Earth plugin earlier, but one year after the 2014 announcement, namely in December 2015, Google decided to give the API some more time thus ending up allowing it one more year.



This doesn’t come as a random decision from Google, as the root of all problems in this situation is the NPAPI framework, which has had people squinting for some time now.

The plugin framework referred to as NPAPI is used in multiple applications, including Google Earth. Its main focus is to provide the application with the ability to be run in a browser through JavaScript. While it sounds reasonable on paper, NPAPI was actually deemed as a pretty big liability in terms of system security and also an outdated technology overall.

It is for this reason that Google has decided to completely scrap the plugin. This was met with mixed feelings, though most people were glad to see the liability go. There were still some however, that found good practical usage for the plugin and were sad to see it go, although they agreed it was for the best.

The termination of the Google Earth API is also tied to the end of support for Google Earth 4. Starting with January 11 2017,  all images will become non-accessible to those using Google Earth 4 , with the latest version having the build number 7.1.7.2606.

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