Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Google Sky, Google Beer

Does Google own everything?

I search the web using Google Search. I send my emails using Google Mail. I track stats on my website using Google Analytics. I get traffic to my sites using Google Advertising. I read blogs and other news using Google Reader. I watch videos on YouTube (the defacto replacement for Google Video). I write this blog using Google Blogging software (blogspot). I search my computer using Google desktop.

Anyway you get the idea.

It seems as though their goal - "to organise the world's information" - is not just some naff corporate mission statement but a simple declaration of fact. Increasingly, it seems, anyone searching for information will at some point use a piece of Google kit. You can't blame them. Time after time they produce the most effective and useful tools. And for free.

I know I should feel some kind of creeping concern about Google's growing grasp on the world's information. Knowledge is, after all, power. There are legitimate criticisms of the Google juggernaut, particularly the Chinese censorship issue.

But you know what. I just don't care.

I may be short sighted saying this. But I just love the way Google do things. Their offerings consistently knock the spots off their competitors, and, again, did I mention, they are (nearly) always free, with no clutter and they just work.

They could own the heavens and I wouldn't care. As long as they organised them better than that guy with the white beard. Which brings me to (oh! seamless link, Millsy!) Google Sky. A plug in (or layer) for Google Earth which allows you to flip the view round and gaze out into the Milky Way.

In the same way that Google Earth uses clever composite imagery from planes, satellites and what not, so Google Sky uses images from Hubble et al to produce glorious views of the night sky. You'll need to download the latest version of Google Earth to enjoy this new feature, by the way.

Brilliant. Just another example of why they are trouncing other big boys like Microsoft and Yahoo. Personally I'm waiting for them to bring out Google Beer - free of course, and with no nasty hangovers. Apparently I'm not the only one dreaming of this day! C'mon Cutts.

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