So I woke up today to new a new icon on my desktop named Google Earth Pro. I certainly didn't download or install it myself. I have had the regular Google earth installed for some time now but didn't have a desktop icon for it.

Has a virus made it into my computer or is this a real program? It does appear to link to the correct directory, same as google earth minus its own folder. But I'm still very apprehensive about it. Seeing as it facilitated its own install somehow.

  • 3
    Google Earth Pro is a real thing.
    – user565955
    Jul 27, 2017 at 15:42
  • 1
    I can't answer that and that wasn't exactly the question. Scan for problems.
    – user565955
    Jul 27, 2017 at 15:48
  • 2
    This isn't just you, it happened to me on 27th July as well.
    – dukereg
    Jul 28, 2017 at 8:32
  • 3
    Following up... looks like Pro is now free, so it's quite likely just the logical step for them to update non-Pro clients to Pro. See google.com/earth/explore/products/desktop.html for details. Even if so, I'm still not happy about it being done utterly without notice. You can't be giving people reason to worry, thereby wasting their time and others' just to streamline your processes.
    – Aiken Drum
    Jul 29, 2017 at 23:16
  • 1
    Just noticed it on my desktop too. Bad form, Google. Bad form.
    – Darren
    Aug 2, 2017 at 7:31

2 Answers 2


[Update 02/08/2017]

It seems this is a genuine update to Google Earth that the Big G have pushed out through the Google Update service. They announced the change in their product forum:

Beginning with this version, Google Earth "Free" and Earth Pro have been combined into a single product, Earth Pro...In the weeks to come, Earth "Free" users will be automatically upgraded to Earth Pro. We encourage Earth users not requiring any Pro features to check out the new Google Earth for web browsers.

[Original Answer - applies to any unknown software that mysteriously appeared]

Until you are sure, DO NOT RUN IT.

If this is a work computer, you may want to check with your corporate IT department if they pushed it out themselves.

You may have accidentally agreed to a prompt to install it if you have been recently using Google Earth (have you?).

If you right-click on the shortcut and select Properties, what is the file path? You may want to browse to the target and upload it to Virus Total for analysis.

Other sources of it being installed are a previously aborted or partial install that has been corrected by a new version being installed by Google Updater - do you have that installed? - or it was installed as shovel-ware by another application installer.

  • That's what is strange is I haven't even used google earth in a couple months. I'm almost certain I didn't allow it or accept any prompts. This is my personal PC. I was playing battlefield 1 at the date modified time of the files.
    – Cam Jones
    Jul 27, 2017 at 15:49
  • Have you installed anything recently? Google are notorious for paying people to put easily missed check boxes in their software installers to install Chrome and set Google to their home page etc. It's possible they've done the same for GE. (EDIT) In the interests of fairness, it's not just Google that do this. MS and others also do it.
    – Darren
    Jul 27, 2017 at 15:50
  • 1
    Couple of posts, such as indicate it could have been a previous failed attempt at installation helpfully corrected by Google Updater.
    – Darren
    Jul 27, 2017 at 15:57
  • Virus total showed clean on the .exe . I guess that link answers it but doesn't really make me feel any better. Of course I googled this first but didn't come across that post. I'll probably uninstall it. The only program I've installed recently is Microsoft EMET.
    – Cam Jones
    Jul 27, 2017 at 16:06

It may have been installed alongside another program, like the Toolbars that frequently are installed alongside free programs. Google Earth is a real program, but I don't know that it's what you have. You may have some pretender program just calling itself Google Earth. Since you don't know where it came from, uninstall it. Run antivirus scan.

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