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Google’s been showing a healthily geeky interest in astronomy ever since they turned Google Earth skyward, but we never thought of what they could do with a smartphone…

Consider us pleasantly surprised. Google just capped off its annual Searchology conference with a sneak peek at a new mobile app called SkyMap, a constellation-finder program that makes finding the big dipper as easy as holding up your phone.

The app gives you a mobile map to the stars that’s responsive to the location and direction of the phone, which means you should always know exactly what you’re looking at. And if you’ve got a particular constellation in mind (Capricorn is always a crowd favorite), the app will point you directly to it. Of course, it’s not the first electronic map to the stars, but it’s the first one that’s integrated so smoothly with the actual sky.

It’s still pretty far from mass production, but when it makes it through, it should be one of the more impressive mobile apps around…and a potential killer app for Android phones.

—R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom