A few big announcements from Google over the past few weeks. First, Google announced that support for the Google Maps Engine product will end on January 29th, 2016. And this past Friday, Google also announced an update to the Google Earth Pro software… it’s now free. That’s right, free as in beer! In a somewhat unexpected move Stafford Marquardt, Product Manager, Google Earth Pro announced the change on Google’s Lat Long blog. Over the weekend, Esri sent their users an email to let them know Google & Esri have a plan to deal with these recent changes:

In coordination with Google, Esri has prepared a special offer for Google Earth Enterprise and Google Maps Engine customers and partners looking to transition to Esri software. ~ Esri

The “coordination” is based on a no-cost replacement for Google Earth Enterprise and Google Maps Engine with Esri products and/or services for one year. You can find more details on the software/fees on Esri’s FAQ page. To start using Google Earth Pro for free, head over to Google’s Key Request page to sign up.

The end of Google Map Engine is a sad one. I’ve only used it on a few projects, but it has always been a very powerful way to make custom web applications (along with Google basemap styling options too).  I only hope the lack of a major competitor doesn’t slow innovation in this vertical - so keeping pushing forward Esri, CartoDB, Mapbox, and  iSpatial (to name a few)!

Wait, while we’re at it, will someone replace Google Reader too?!