Search giant Google has acquired start-up firm eBook Technologies Inc. for an undisclosed sum, a move that is likely to boost its recently launched eBook store. REUTERS

Google has introduced its latest version of Google Earth, their interactive digital atlas.

The search engine has come up with more realistic tools with which now users can explore their childhood home, visit distant lands or find out their vacation spot, Peter Birch, Product Manager at Google wrote in the official blog.

“In Google Earth 6, we’re taking realism in the virtual globe to the next level with two new features: a truly integrated Street View experience and 3D trees. We’ve also made it even easier to browse historical imagery. Over the next several days on our LatLong blog, we’ll be digging deeper into these great new features,” said Birch.

Google first took the step towards bringing Google Earth in 2008 with the implementation of Street View. The street view brought up a bunch of camera icons on the screen showing the centers of major cities where street view is available. In Google Earth 6, the Street View experience is now fully integrated, so users can journey from outer space right to their doorstep in one seamless flight.

Since, Google thinks trees are an integral part of the landscape around Google Earth, Google included 3D models for dozens of species of trees, from the Japanese Maple to the East African Cordia to the cacao tree.

“While we’ve just gotten started planting trees in Google Earth, we already have more than 80 million trees in places such as Athens, Berlin, Chicago, New York City, San Francisco and Tokyo,” said Birch.

Through their Google Earth Outreach program, Google has also been working with organizations including the Green Belt Movement in Africa, the Amazon Conservation Team in Brazil and CONABIO in Mexico to model their planet’s threatened forests.

“To enjoy these leafy additions to Google Earth, make sure you turn on the 3D buildings layer on the left side panel. As a starting point, try a search for “Palace of Fine Arts San Francisco.” Once you arrive at your destination, click the zoom slider. You’ll then be taken down to the ground where you can use our new ground-level navigation to walk among the trees,” said Birch.

With this new version, Google has made it very easy to discover historical imagery. When users fly to an area to get historical imagery, the date of the oldest imagery will appear in the status bar at the bottom of the screen.

“If you click on this date, you’ll instantly be taken back in time to view imagery from that time period. You can then browse through all the historical imagery available for that location, or simply close the time control and return to the default view,” said Birch.