Developers who have built web apps that take advantage of the Google Earth geospatial imaging service have just 12 more months to make the most of them, because the online ad-slinger plans to shut down the Google Earth API next year. According to a Friday blog post, Google will continue to fully support the Google Earth API through the coming year, but it will go dark on December 12, 2015, taking any and all Google Earth web apps with it.
Google today announced it plans to retire the Google Earth API on December 12, 2015. The reason is simple: Both Chrome and Firefox are removing support for Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface (NPAPI) plugins due to security reasons, so the API’s death was inevitable. The timing makes sense. Last month, Google updated its plan for killing off NPAPI support in Chrome, saying that it would block all plugins by default in January and drop support completely in September. The company also revealed that the Google Earth plugin had dropped in usage from 9.1 percent of Chrome users in October 2013 to 0.1 percent in October 2014. Add dwindling cross-platform support (particularly on mobile devices), and we’re frankly surprised the announcement didn’t come sooner.