Google Sky Map

Astronomical augmented reality app
Google Cemetery
GENERAL INFORMATION
Category:
Design
Started:
2010
BUSINESS FAILURE
Cause:
Multiple Reasons
Closed:
2012

Description

Google Sky Map was an augmented reality app that launched in 2009. It showed the closest celestial objects, such as planets, stars, constellations, etc., based on the users’ current location. They just had to point their phone at a particular part of the sky and, regardless of the weather conditions, they would get an accurate astronomical map.

Google Sky Map

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Cause of Failure

Sky Map came out at the dawn of Android development, back when versions such as Froyo and Gingerbread were brand new. However, Google failed to update the app’s design to match newer OS versions and pretty much ceased development in 2011.

In January 2012, the company officially announced that Sky Map was becoming open source and any developers, fans of astronomy, could work with the apps’ code. The plan was to collaborate with Carnegie Mellon University and have the students do any further development of the mapping tool, with Google engineers serving as advisors.

In 2016 the app was updated by Sky Map Devs. Some bugs were fixed, as well as some data errors concerning planet order and star-system names. The app was updated to reflect the menu option, which changed from being an actual button to become part of the screen options in newer Android devices. The tool was also translated into Arabic.

Good alternatives to the tool are Star Walk, SkyORB, and Starmap.

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