Michael Jones Talk – I discovered earlier this week that Michael Jones (who has been the primary Google spokesperson for Google Earth – with the title of Chief Technologist of Google Earth) was speaking in Chapel Hill, North Carolina as part of a distinguished lecture series by RENCI. Michael gave an excellent talk, as usual, which described how tools like Google Earth and Maps have begun improving the way we relate information to geospatial location. This was not a technical talk, and unfortunately there were no hints at forthcoming developments for Google Earth. But, I greatly enjoyed how surprised people in the audience were at the variety of features of Google Earth Michael demonstrated. Many people came up to him afterwards expressing: “I didn’t know Google Earth did that.” Michael on a couple of occasions pointed people over to me and said they should be reading GEB. 🙂 Michael was sporting a new title of “Chief Technology Advocate” in the lecture bio. In speaking with him afterwards, he will be expanding his role at Google to not just advocate the Google Earth/Maps products, but for Google as a whole.
Google Earth Game – Mickey at Google Earth Hacks has announced he is developing a new game for Google Earth. This time its a multi-player role playing dungeon’s and dragon kind of game. Currently the game is in closed beta, but I’m on the list. I’ll report what I think soon. Mickey says the entire game will be played within Google Earth, so you won’t have to load a separate application.
Sky Lawsuit – Last week it came out that Google was being sued by a former contractor who claims he gave the idea of Sky to Google in 2006. Stefan Geens at OgleEarth was quick to point out that the suit appears frivolous since it was obvious Google had started on this much earlier in 2006 than the contractor claimed. One interesting tidbit: during Michael Jones’ talk last night he mentioned that he was in Hawaii meeting with astronomers to collect data for the Google Sky project in the fall of 2005. Six months before the contractor began working for Google. Further proof that the suit has no basis.
Microsoft Sky – Speaking of Sky – Microsoft will leave no stone unturned when it comes to continuing its effort to beat Google. Apparently on February 27th, Microsoft will be releasing a program to challenge Google Earth’s Sky at showing the heavens to the masses. The program is rumored to be called Microsoft Worldwide Telescope and will use Photosynth-based technology. According to Techcrunch – which revealed the upcoming announcement – the new application will be better than Google Sky. We’ll see…