The 1 Billion figure includes all versions: the desktop client, mobile apps and the Google Earth browser plug-in. The app was launched in its first iteration back in 2005, following Google’s acquisition of geospacial technology company Keyhole the previous year.
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To mark today’s occasion, Google has produced the video below and launched a website called One World Many Stories, which is designed to share tales of how people have used Google Earth. However, we’re getting a rather ironic Google Maps API developer key error when we try to view the site’s content. Odd that Google would have to register as a developer for one of its own products! UPDATE: This glitch has now been fixed and we can explore Google Earth through the site as intended.