Bing Maps adds Worldwide Telescope

Last month, we showed you that amazing video of Blaise Aguera y Arcas showing off some new and upcoming features of Bing Maps.  One of those was the integration of Worldwide Telescope, which is now available.

To try it out for yourself:

  • Go to: www.bing.com/maps/explore
  • Click on Map Apps (bottom of the left-hand rail, below the explore section)
  • Select the WorldWide Telescope App

It’s nothing groundbreaking (we’ve seen both products before), but it’s solid and logical integration that helps make both of them more useful.

Microsoft’s WorldWide Telescope finally has SpaceNavigator support

When WorldWide Telescope came out earlier this year, it blew a lot of people away — including me.  It’s a phenomenal program!

However, it didn’t support the excellent SpaceNavigator device, making it much more difficult to use.  I thought it was a bug at first, but it was simply not a supported device.

Today 3Dconnexion announced support for the software, and it works wonderfully.  I’ve spent a good deal of time just browsing around this evening, because the SpaceNavigator makes it so easy.  If you already have a SpaceNavigator, so download the latest version of WWTS and have some fun!

WorldWide Telescope now available for download

Two days ago we told you it’d be here this month, and it’s out already!  As reported by Ogle Earth and the Virtual Earth Developer Blog, you can go download it right now.

Some initial thoughts:

  • It really is a stunning tool.
  • It has SpaceNavigator support (sort of), but it tends to freak out as soon as you touch it.  Not sure if it’s a driver issue with the SpaceNavigator or a bug in WWTS.
  • You can via the earth (or any other planet) inside of the application.  However, you don’t get 3D buildings or anything like that — just imagery.  Still, it’s a neat feature to have.

Enough talking — this is one of those things you really need to experience for yourself.  Go get it!

WorldWide Telescope to release this month

According to a few sources, Microsoft’s WorldWide Telescope is due to release sometime this month.  During a speech in Jakarta, Indonesia, Bill Gates summarized WWTS in one sentence:

“This is taking data that’s very complex, gathered over many years from many telescopes, and making it accessible.”

Given the great previews that people have reported, I’m looking forward to seeing this product once it’s released.

Some videos of WorldWide Telescope in action

Screencap of WorldWide TelescopeThere is a nice video up on TED that shows WWTS in action (about 6:30 in length). It’s certainly worth watching.

Also, you can view a few other promo videos on WorldWideTelescope.org. These videos are mostly just promo pieces and don’t really show the product, though.

The official release date is still simply “Spring, 2008″.

More details revealed about Microsoft’s World Wide Telescope

Robert Scoble has admitted that a demo of Microsoft’s World Wide Telescope a few weeks ago made him cry.

A snippet:

You drag around the sky. There’s Mars. There’s the big dipper. There’s Beetlejuice. Etc. It’s just like the star party you probably attended in college.

But it has one difference between any telescope you’ve ever looked at.

You can zoom. Zoom. Zoom. Zoom.

We picked a point of light inside the big dipper. Zoom. Zoom. Zoom. Zoom. Holy shit, it’s two galaxies colliding. It looked like a star. Zoom. Zoom. Zoom.

Now the magic happened.

Curtis Wong said: “let’s switch to a different telescope and see what these two galaxies colliding are spitting out.”

He clicked a button and we saw a completely different view of the same colliding galaxies. This time we weren’t looking at visible light, but at something else. I think it might have been infrared, or maybe a look at radiation being kicked out. He had about 10 of the world’s telescopes to look at. I forget all the names, but that detail is in the video coming on Monday.

Check out the full post for more information. He says a video is coming on Monday, so we’ll be sure to post that when we see it.

Microsoft’s answer to Google Earth Sky set to launch on February 27

Outer SpaceAccording to TechCrunch, Microsoft is set to unveil a product called “Worldwide Telescope” on February 27. This product will be used through a Windows-only downloadable application.

It sounds a whole lot like the “Sky Mode” in Google Earth. From the article:

Users will be able to pan around the nighttime sky and zoom as far in to any one area as the data will allow. Microsoft is said to be tapping the Hubble telescope as well as ten or so earth bound telescopes around the world for data. When you find an area you like, you can switch to a number of different views, such as infrared and non-visible light.

They say it will be much better than Google Sky for two reasons:

  • More data, which sounds reasonable. I don’t have the numbers to say for sure if that’s accurate or not, but it certainly sounds like this will launch with a TON of data.
  • A better user interface, which is “seamless as you move around the sky and zoom in and out”.

I don’t know about you, but Sky mode in Google Earth is pretty seamless to me, especially with the SpaceNavigator. I sure hope Microsoft includes support for it when they release this new product.