On March 19, we announced some changes to the Google Earth layers panel intended to make browsing easier (with more descriptive icons, including more than 40 different icons to indicate place types). We also made some changes to the way layers are organized, with the goal of making it easier to find and control our top three layers:

We made the recent changes as part of our continual attempt to streamline and simplify the browsing experience, particularly for casual (or brand new!) Google Earth users. But we know we also have a very loyal community of users who weren’t happy with the changes. One of the most common complaints was that we removed the ability to individually select certain layers (such as “Parks” or “Transportation”), which now appear in our default-on “Places of Interest” layer.

We’ve been listening, and today we released some changes to make these separate layers available again in Google Earth. You can now once again expand the “Labels” folder:

You can also find “Parks and Recreation Areas” under “More,” as well as specific place categories like schools or coffee shops in our new “Place Categories” folder:

Finally, we’re working to restore our separate “Transportation” layers in the near future, and appreciate your patience while we make the required changes.

We'd like to make some further changes in the future to streamline the Ocean, Gallery, and Global Awareness content in our Layers panel, but we realize that many of you have very specific interests and want to easily find the information you care most about. In the interest of making these changes as painless as possible, we invite you to make suggestions about how best to organize the Layers panel in Google Earth.