Re: 280.11 seems to break google earth for me
What distro are you on? On some distros, 32-bit video acceleration, which Google Earth uses since it's a precompiled 32-bit binary, comes in a seaparate package. Depending on how your distro does things, your 32-bit support paclage may still be at version 275. Upgrading it to match 280.11 may solve the problem.
I'm on 64-bit Arch Linux here (I'm a Gnome 3 user as well), and Google Earth works fine for me with 280.11.