Several days ago we wrote about something extraordinary that Robert Scoble said was coming from Microsoft and it was going to be announced on February 27th. When he saw a live demo of it at a recent visit to Redmond, he said it was enough to make his eyes well up with tears. TechCrunch is now speculating that this extraordinary something from Microsoft is a WorldWide Telescope. The desktop software would be available for Windows users and would allow them, as Michael Arrington says, to “pan around the nighttime sky and zoom as far in to any one area as the data will allow. Microsoft is said to be tapping the Hubble Telescope as well as ten or so earthbound telescopes around the world for data. When you find an area you like, you can switch to a number of different views such as infrared and non-visible light.”
When I thought about Microsoft’s WorldWide telescope, I immediately thought of Google Sky – Google’s addition to Google Earth for viewing stars and astronomical images. Because I’ve already played around with Google Sky, a WorldWide Telescope from Microsoft didn’t initially sound that great. But then I was reminded of what Scoble wrote in his blog. He said if people didn’t see a video of the software in action, people would tell him that it was lame. He said that actually seeing it will cause you to have an emotional reaction like it did for him. If Microsoft has in fact developed a really good application for viewing the sky, it could turn out to be pretty amazing.
Now we’re anxious to see if the WorldWide Telescope is in fact what Scoble was referring to (we believe it is), and to see it in action. Come to think of it, this application could potentially be amazing on Microsoft’s Surface computer.