Imagine a model of the entire earth that shines brightly in the palm of your hand, that you can spin around and zoom into, with clear details visible down to a half meter in some places and that you can use to view the locations of things like daily diary entries from the Jane Goodall Institute's chimpanzee team out in the jungle or 3D models of the ancient monuments of Rome. That would be insane, wouldn't it?

Now imagine that such a thing didn't just exist, wasn't just a plaything for Kings and the wizards in their courts, but had been downloaded over tiny wires and through the air one billion times around the world. That's exactly what has happened now that Google Earth has been downloaded 1 billion times.

Google announced yesterday that its Google Earth program on desktop, mobile and as a plug-in has now been downloaded 1 billion times. The company created a commemorative site to mark the occasion at OneWorldManyStories.com. It's really a remarkable turn of events.