Google Sky Freed From Google Earth

Star-viewing feature goes from Earth add-on to its own browser show
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2008 8:10 PM CDT

(Newser) – Not only can stargazers store their telescopes, but now they can put away some of their software, too. Google has freed its Sky program from the Google Earth software, and computer-screen galaxy-watching can now be done simply via web browser. “This release makes Sky accessible to just about anyone with an Internet connection,” one Google rep tells InformationWeek.

The program was freed by a company intern, with help from other engineers making use of their “20% time”—hours when employees aren’t tied to their standard job descriptions. But some dark matter remains for Sky, as Google still faces a lawsuit from a former contract employee who claims the search giant stole his idea in 2006.