Google Earth plugin API speed test

This speed test issues a number of Google Earth plugin API calls for every frame drawn. The number of frames per second is a measure on how fast this is done. On a decent computer you should get 20 - 50 fps.



This speed test performs position, size and rotation changes to 50 screenOverlays. This means a total of 200 API calls are made to the Google Earth plugin for every frame drawn. This means that at 60 FPS there are 12000 API calls per second. Not bad for a bit of javascript but unfortunately the Google Crome browser and Firefox 4 perform these API calls just a little slower. However when magnified 12000 times these delays become a real problem.

Speed things up 5 times or more...

If you are using Chrome or Firefox 4 or newer you should read this!!!

The Google Earth plugin needs to communicate with the Javascript code that runs in the browser. This means that there are two processes that need to talk to each other. This is called "Inter Process Communication" IPC for short. Browser makers have tried to make the browser more robust by treating the IPC calls with more care. That is very nice of them but someone forgot to consider the performance penalty.

Applications on typically make thousands of calls per second to the Google Earth plugin. If each of those calls takes a tiny amount longer you immediately suffer massive performance penalties. These can be in the order of 5 - 10 times slower that they should be.

Fortunately in Firefox you can turn of the IPC protection to the plugin. If you type "about:config" into your address bar, you'll get to a page with a lot of settings. Find the line for "dom.ipc.plugins.enabled = true" and toggle it to "false". Restart your browser and things should run much better.

Amazingly, the Google Chrome browser won't play nice with the Google Earth plugin You just have to put up with a sluggish sub standard performance of Google Earth or use Firefox with the above optimization applied.

You can read more about the speed issue on the Google Earth Blog


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