Google has completely converted its interactive world photo model Earth to the WebAssembly bytecode. It no longer only runs in Chrome, but also in Firefox, Edge and Opera.
It took almost three years of development and then another six months of public beta, but here we go: Google Earth, the web app with which you can view the whole world from above, now also works in Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Opera. Google announced this in a blog post.
The reason: Google has completely redesigned the app – in the bytecode WebAssembly (Wasm). Until recently, you could only access Earth in Google’s own Chrome browser, but that is now changing. In non-Chrome browsers, however, you should still expect poor performance – Google still has to “polish” WebAssembly-Earth. By the way, Safari users have been left with nothing so far. But here, too, there are plans to get Earth running in the Apple browser.
From Native Client to WebAssembly
After Google made its Earth service browser-ready in 2017, it was reserved for in-house Chrome for a long time. This was because Earth used Google’s in-house “Native Client” standard (NaCl), which other web browsers cannot handle.
The highlight of WebAssembly: You can pack apps in pretty much all major programming languages in it. For example, a hobbyist has already created the first-person shooter Doom 3 in C and C ++ and compiled it in web assembly – now it can be played as a demo in the browser. Google has now done almost the same with Google Earth.
“WebAssembly has proven to be the leading, open standard, and browser support has evolved significantly over the past few years,” said Google. Work continues to optimize Earth for many browsers.
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