Planet Orbits – James Stafford has posted at his Barnabu blog another Google Earth Sky add-on. This one goes perfectly with the Planets in Motion layer to illustrate why the planets move the way they do in our night sky. The Planets in Motion layer shows icons representing each planet and its position on a particular night. It also uses the Google Earth time slider to let you watch how the positions change from night to night. James created a planets overlay showing a diagram of the planets in their orbits (not to scale) in the upper left which also has the time data. As the time slider moves, you can see the positions of the planets relative to each other and the sun. Another one Google should ask to let them include in the layers – nice work James!
SuperOverlay 2.0 – Valery Hrosunov has posted a new version of his tool for inserting high resolution image overlays into Google Earth: SuperOverlay 2.0 (beta). This was the same tool that is being used to create the Burning Man 2007 aerial image overlay.
GEC 1 million – By the way, the Google Earth Community a few days ago crossed over 1 million posts! And, there are now over 900,000 registered members.
Google Social Network – Ionut Alex Chitu posted at his Google Operating System blog some information from students at Arizona State University who were given a questionnaire from a “major Internet company” that alludes to a new 3D social network world. Based on several factors, he concludes the proposed social network link is coming from Google. The questionnaire even says the product is hypothetically called “My World“. There has been a lot of speculation about Google doing something like SecondLife using Google Earth or technologies based on it. Avi Bar-Zeev picked up on this new speculation and posted at his blog, Reality Prime, some more thoughts. Avi, who helped develop software at Key Hole which eventually became Google Earth, thinks Google could add social network functions to Google Earth, or a version of Google Earth, and even let people use Google SketchUp to help add 3D objects to the world. He thinks the result would be something more like a “3D My Space” than a GE SecondLife. He doesn’t believe it is possible to use the current GE model to create a SecondLife type metaverse – and I agree.
I also think that adding more social network functions (don’t forget, we already have the Google Earth Community layers and community built 3D Buildings in GE) inside GE would be an excellent way to continue to help build the GeoWeb. Encouraging people to help add more meaningful information tied to location and tie it back into the web is what the GeoWeb is all about. A few months ago Google started supporting KML searching by indexing KML files so you can search them. Google Earth could be an even better mechanism for creating the GeoWeb with the proper social networking interfaces – something I’ve thought about for a while now. I just hope Google comes up with a better interface for layers, because the one in Google Earth now is already difficult for people to fully grasp and properly use. Add more social networking content and things could get really messy. Google will have to turn to their knowledge of search to make working with the layers better.
Instead of “News Roundup”, I’m switching over to “Links” for these type of collective posts. The reasons being that the label is shorter, and “Links” is what more and more blogs are using for the title to posts with combined entries.