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23 January 2012, 15:30

Google's Sky Map for Android now open source

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Sky Map for Android in action
Zoom Sky Map for Android in action
Google's Sky Map for Android has been open sourced as the search and advertising company continues to trim down the many projects, products and services it previously launched or showed to the public. This time around the Google cull also includes Google Message Continuity, Needlebase, Picnik, Social Graph API and Urchin.

Google Sky Map was created by a group of Google developers based in Pittsburgh on their 20% time, where the company allows developers 20% of their time to work on their own ideas for the company. Their intention was to demonstrate the capabilities of the sensors in the first generation of Android phones. Running Sky Map and pointing the phone at the sky gives a virtual view, complete with labels and other information, of the night (or day) sky.

Google has decided to open source the project so that it can be augmented. The developers are collaborating with Carnegie Mellon University, also in Pittsburgh, in a partnership to develop Sky Map further in a number of student projects. The original engineers will stay involved as advisers to the students. Sky Map's code is already available on Google Code as the Apache 2 licensed stardroid.

Google's App Inventor logo An earlier cull victim, Google's App Inventor, which was donated to MIT in August 2011, has also finally been released as open source. The code was contributed to MIT's Center of Mobile Learning which is expected to be opening a service for the Android application creation system in the first quarter of this year. Google has now open sourced the code and freed the "App Inventor" name and the puzzle-piece logo.

"There's little supporting documentation yet, and we’re not accepting contributions to the code now", say the developers, partly because the Center is busy creating its service and won't be participating in the community until that is up and running. MIT will also be making its own releases of App Inventor in the future under its own "MIT App Inventor" name.


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