So Google is not satisfied with world domination, but wants to rule the universe too. Hey, even space shuttles need search engines. Ok, at a stretch.

So it transpires that the new version of Google Earth now comes with sky imagery or a “virtual telescope”, as Google calls it. As the official Google Earth blog says:

Today, I’m excited to announce we are launching Sky in Google Earth. You can now explore the universe from the comfort of your chair. Zoom in to distant galaxies hundreds of millions of light years away, explore the constellations, see the planets in motion, witness a supernova explosion; it’s like having a giant, virtual telescope at your command — your own personal planetarium!

The New York Times says the images were “stitched together from more than one million photographs from scientific and academic sources”, including the Hubble telescope.

According to the Times, Google says that it developed the project strictly because some of its engineers were interested in it, and that it had no plans to make money from it for now.

But it is probably only a matter of time before Mars Bar contextual search advertising pops up on your screen next to a crater on the red planet. (They wouldn’t do that, would they?)

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