Many users of the popular virtual globe software from Google were complaining in the past days about their inability to log into Google Earth with their Google Accounts. The cause of this issue is a new update version 18.104.22.1687. This update replaces an old sign-in process that used OAuth 1.0 to OAuth 2.0 which effectively means that users of the previous versions of Google Earth will not be able to sign-in with their Google Accounts after May 30th, 2015. Let us look into what all of this means and what can users do about it.
As previously stated, the cause if this issue is an update to a newer version of OAuth which stands for the open standard for authorization. It essentially provides applications a secure way of connecting to a server while specifying a process for resource owners to authorize third-party access to their server resources without sharing their credentials. This piece of software was first published in 2006 and today is used by many large companies like Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, and of course Google. OAuth 2.0 can be seen as the next gen version of OAuth and is notably important because it breaks the backward compatibility with all previous versions of OAuth. The OAuth 2.0 Framework has been published in 2012 and companies all around the world are steadily switching to it because it greatly simplifies certain technical elements that make OAuth 2.0 fast and reliable authentication solution. Google Earth has been slowly but steadily preparing for this transition starting the previous month with an update to version 22.214.171.1249. This update introduced OAuth 2.0 to an enterprise version of Google Earth.
So what can you do if you cannot sign-in into your Google Earth? You need to check which version of Google Earth you have. If you are on windows then click on “Help” in Google Earth and select “About Google Earth”. If you are on Mac then instead of “Help” look for “Google Earth” and then select “About Google Earth”. If you are using a version older than 7.1.4 or earlier then you need to go to Google Earth’s download page and upgrade to the latest version available.
It is important not to confuse the sign-in process with the license sign-in that is required in Google Earth Pro. This sign-in concerns an integration with your Google account in order to give you the ability to easily create and share screenshots on Google+ and share them with all of your friends and family members.
The second part of this update fixes issues with the auto-update process on Mac OS X that some users experienced in the past. It is definitely nice to see that Google is still keeping their old and beloved Google Earth alive and we can only hope that there will be more updates in the future and hopefully some of them will also give us some new features or user interface updates and polish.
Here are direct links for the latest update: