Get Google Earth Pro for free

The Pro version of everyone's favorite virtual globe used to cost $399 -- per year! Now it's free. Freeeeee!

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read

Watch this: How to save $400 by getting Google Earth Pro for free

Google Earth has been around for years, yet it still makes my jaw drop.

I mean, seriously, for centuries the only way to get a "bird's-eye" view of our planet was to spin an actual globe. Now we can "fly" to any location and zoom all the way in from space to a couple hundred feet above real, satellite-mapped ground.

Google Earth Pro Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Most amazing of all, Google made this tool available for free. This despite an educational -- and, let's be honest, entertainment -- value that's virtually impossible to measure.

What you maybe didn't know is that Google has long offered a Pro version of Earth as well, one that cost a hefty $399 per year. Now, however, you can get Google Earth Pro absolutely free.

First things first: The words "free trial" still appear in that URL, but as you'll see when you click through to the sign-up page, "Sign up is no longer required for Google Earth Pro." All you have to do is download the installer, run it, then sign in using your e-mail address (as your username) and license code GEPFREE.

Second things second: Do you really need this? Probably not, as Pro was created with business/enterprise users in mind -- but it does afford some pretty cool extras not found in the free version, including:

  • Advanced measurements: Measure parking lots and land developments with polygon area measure, or determine affected radius with circle measure.
  • High-resolution printing: Print images up to 4,800 x 3,200 pixel resolution.
  • Exclusive pro data layers: Demographics, parcels, and traffic count.
  • Spreadsheet import: Ingest up to 2,500 addresses at a time, assigning place marks and style templates in bulk.
  • Movie-Maker: Export Windows Media and QuickTime HD movies, up to 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution.

So, yeah, you could print ultra-high-resolution images of, say, your neighborhood. (The free version tops out at 1,000 pixels.) Or add high-def fly-over videos to your movies. Pretty sweet stuff.

And don't overlook the huge thrill of scoring a $400 product for free. That's always fun.

Don't ask me how to pronounce it. Ztylus

Bonus deal: Calling all iPhone 6-owning shutterbugs! Ztylus makes a really cool case/camera-lens combo, but it normally costs $100. For a limited time, StackSocial has the Ztylus iPhone 6 Case and RV-2 Smart Flip Lens Kit for $46 shipped, by far the lowest price I've seen anywhere. (Also available: the iPhone 6 Plus version for $69.)

Update: According to a very apologetic StackSocial rep, the iPhone 6 version of the case was also supposed to be priced at $69; the initial $46 listing was in error. Both versions of the case cost $69, still a decent savings compared with the $99.99 list price.

I'm loving the design of this: It's a full-time kickstand case, but then you swap in the rotating lens kit (when needed) for four lens options: fish-eye, macro, wide-angle, and circular polarizer filter.