Last August Google released an updated version of Google Earth which had a new addition to it. Sky for Google Earth was added and has allowed users to Explore the universe right from their chair and view over 100 million stars and 200 million galaxies. The only downside was the fact that it was desktop based and you were required to download Google Earth to be able to use it. Not long ago that wouldn’t have been considered a downside, we’ve just been spoiled with web-based versions of many applications.
Google decided they wanted to make Google Sky web based several months ago and gave the assignment to get the application online to one of the finalists in their Latin America Code Jam. Code Jam is Google’s big programmers challenge where people get together to “hack and solve complex programming challenges in a short time.” As a finalist, Diego Gavinowich was given the task and with the help of some other Google engineers, they managed to get the web-based version of Google Sky up and running.
If you’re familiar with Google Maps, you’ll be able to easily use Google Sky. Zooming in and out is the same and you can click your mouse and drag to move around. And just how there are different views in Google Maps (traffic, street view, satellite, etc.) there are different views in Google Sky which include Infrared, Microwave, and Historical.
When you first go to www.google.com/sky you’ll notice at the bottom that there are different categories that you can browse through that include the Solar System, Constellations, the Hubble Showcase, and more. This makes navigating a lot easier and more focused. One thing I did notice in the Solar System section is that by clicking “Earth,” Google Maps will open in a new tab which is a nice feature.
As a side note, now that we know Microsoft is working on the WorldWide Telescope that sounds as though it will work similarly to Google Sky, it makes us wonder if Google intends to spend some extra time sprucing up Google Sky?
Source: Thanks for the tip Trip!