No, Google Earth isn’t planning on providing maps to movie stars’ homes, or tours of Hollywood. They’re looking to index the final frontier, as Reuters reports today. The new feature, “Sky,” will be a virtual telescope, similar to Google Earth only with the satellite view pointing the other way.
Here’s the video demo:
Google also has an official user guide to Sky.
Their hi-res images of stars can be overlaid with images provided by the Hubble Telescope, labels, constellations and more. “Like Google Earth,” says Reuters, “Sky will enable users to float and zoom in on over 100 million individual stars and 200 million galaxies. Users will view the sky as seen from earth.” Sky is fully integrated into the latest version of Google Earth, rather than composing its own standalone program.
The Sky service is slated to be available today in all countries and languages that Google Earth is available in.
There’s no mention in the Reuters article if this is a byproduct of the deal between Google and the 19 universities, labs and other foundations of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) project announced in January (not slated for full fruition until 2013).