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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!

Now playing: 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.