Sync Google Earth placemarks across different PCs

Dick uses Google Earth on more than one PC. He asked how to sync placemarks between them.

Oddly enough, Google's extensive cloud services don't do much for Earth (the program, not the planet--although it probably doesn't do much for that, either). You'd expect that if you have a Youtube, Gmail, or other Google account, Earth would sync automatically. But it doesn't.

Luckily, there is a workaround, even if it's a bit clumsy.

[Email your tech questions to answer@pcworld.com.]

But first, a quick review on creating a Google Earth placemark. In Earth, either click the yellow pushpin icon on the toolbar or select Add>Placemark from the menus. Another yellow pushpin and a dialog box will appear. Drag the pin to your desired point on the map, then enter a name in the dialog box.

Here's another way to do it: Search for an address or location. The name will appear below the Search field. Drag it to Places below the search result.

In order to sync your places, you'll need to save them in a .kmz file. To do so, select Add>Folder. Give the folder a name, such as Synced Places. Once you click OK, the folder will appear in the Places pane below Search. Drag all of your places and placemarks (or just the ones you want on the other PC) to the new folder. You'll have to drag them one at a time.

Now right-click the folder, and select Save Place As. Save it as a .kmz file (the default).

Where should you save it to? If you're using a cloud storage service like DropBox or iCloud, save it there, so it will end up in the cloud and be available on every PC and device you use.

If you're not using a cloud storage service, and don't want to use one, you can simply save it anywhere, then email the file to yourself.

Then, on your other computers, open Google Earth and select File>Open. Open the .kmz file.

Things can be trickier with a mobile device, especially an iPad and iPhone, since iOS lacks a general file system. The instructions below apply specifically to DropBox, but other cloud storage services will likely behave in a similar way.

Open the DropBox app on your device. Go to and tap your .kmz file. On an Android device, the file will load into Earth automatically. In iOS, Dropbox will give you an "Unable to view file" message. Tap the Open in icon in the upper-right corner, then tap Open in Google Earth.

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