Google Earth Pro, which had a price tag of $399, is now available for free.
Google, in a blog post Friday, said its customizable mapping application – complete with all of its features and imagery – will be available for free. Anyone interested can obtain a free key and download Earth Pro immediately.
The Pro version has the same features as the standard Google Earth along with tools that help users measure 3D buildings, print high-resolution images for presentations or reports, and record HD movies of virtual trips around the world.
Individuals may use the service when planning a trip or an enterprise might use it when plotting out a new office building, according to Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research. Saving nearly $400 a year is always a good thing for a business and using geo data and images is also helpful, he said.
"Using this information could jazz up presentations," he added. "It could help companies find prospects through measurement and plan deployment of infrastructure, like networking. It also could help sell tourism."
For Google to make its Earth Pro app free, two things have to be true, Gottheil said.
"First, the revenue they were accruing from it wasn't so great," he said. "And second, they see a way to monetize it in the long run, if it's more broadly used."