GoogleEarth 4.3 is still in beta phase, but I finally found out why my installation of it only showed an empty sky, no navigational buttons or any compass. It didn't even connect to the google server. As it seems, GoogleEarth sets itself up to be run as root and that's something I wouldn't like to do on my machine. There are reasons why I like linux and one is that you don't have to be root to run your applications, so without any question that was no option to me.
The reason is, that the owner of the ~/.config/Google/ directory and the .conf files in it are set to root in the installation process. (Google should allready have corrected that, but maybe they want users to run GoogleEarth as root? Shamed be he who thinks evil of it.)
The GoogleEarth 4.3 interface
The solution for me (and many others) was to download and install GoogleEarth 4.3 and after that, manually delete two directories:
~/.config/Google (If you are using more of Google's software you should be sure to backup that directory first!)
and ~/.googleearth (If you are upgrading from an earlier installation, be sure to backup your myplaces.kml first!)
After that, googleearth produced fresh and correct config-directories on the first launch and worked flawlessly for me since.
Another solution is, to go to the ~/.config/Google directory and to change the owner from root to your username, but the first one is so much faster, easier - but both variants work.