If you’re a fan of Google’s augmented reality astronomy app Google Sky Map, I’ve got good news and bad news for you. Google announced that major development on the app has ended, so there will be no more major official releases from the company. On the plus side, they’ve decided to release the open-source code for Sky Map, so given enough developer interest it should be around for quite some time.
Sky Map started as one of Google’s famous 20% projects, which six of its employees launched by working in their company-sponsored spare time. The application was one of Android’s first showpiece apps, combining basic astronomical data overlaid on a smartphone camera to easily identify constellations, planets and other heavenly bodies by simply pointing the phone towards the sky. The free app has been downloaded over 10 million times from the Android Market.
Google is working with Carnegie Melon University so that its students can continue direct development. The company didn’t say if direct updated with computer scientist students’ code would make it into the android Market, but it’s a pretty safe bet. If you’ d like to give it a try for yourself, you can download the open-source code here. I fully expect a Star Trek themed version of Sky Map in the next few weeks which will allow me to view the Alpha Quadrant from my smartphone – get to it, devs.