If you have experienced frustration managing your genealogy files in Google Earth, you’re not alone. A recent email question from Genealogy Gems Premium Member Linda reminded me what the #1 culprit tends to be: the Temporary Folder. Linda writes:
“I have a question for you about Google Earth. I have been trying to play around with it and when I find a place and want to save it, the “Save to My Places” is grayed out and it won’t let me save. My husband said the same thing happens on his computer. I looked on a Google forum and someone posted a question about it not working recently. Do you happen to have any info about this and does the same thing happen to you?”
While Linda didn’t provide specifics as to what kind of “place” she is trying to save, I’ve been at this long enough to have a pretty good ideathat she found something like a Rumsey Historical Map that she wants to add as a permanent fixture to her geographic genealogy files in Google Earth. Fabulous! Or it may be as simple as someone emailed her a map with a single placemark on it. She has clicked to open it and Google Earth magically opened and displayed it on her screen. Awesome!
In both cases, the important thing to notice, is that the item was sent to the TEMPORARY folder in the PLACES panel. That’s because Google Earth doesn’t assume just because you wanted to look at something means you want to save it in your files forever. And this leads me to the answer to Linda’s question…
The only time “Save to My Places” will not be grayed out is when the item that you are looking to Save to My Places is in the TEMPORARY folder. In other words, it is not yet saved to My Places (as in the cases I mentioned above.)
The Temporary folder is the most overlooked feature of Google Earth, and can play havoc with you unless you understand how it works, particularly in conjunction with the menu functions.
The item will then jump from your Temporary folder into My Places. You may need to open My Places by clicking the small black arrow next to it in order to see it at the bottom of your list.
Once an item (such as a place mark) is created, and it appears anywhere in the Places panel other than the Temporary folder (such as in a folder you created, or under My Places,) it is technically already in My Places, and therefore does not need to be Saved to My Places. And that is why that option is grayed out.
Think of “Save to My Places” as “MOVE to My Places”.
Once your item is in My Places, from that point forward you will be saving any changes you make to it by selecting FILE > SAVE > SAVE MY PLACES.
This procedure saves changes made to any and all files in your My Places, including the new file you just added. Anything in your Temporary folder will be lost when you close Google Earth.
Play it Safe!
Be smart and get into the excellent habit of saving My Places every 10 minutes or so, (in case Google Earth, our computer, or internet connection crashes,) and most definitely when you close the program at the end of your work session.