In my stories about Google stuff recently, there has been a great deal of excitement about a new feature for planetary navigation in Google Maps.
Spotted on Reddit, Google Maps now shows a neat hyperspace animation when you switch from Earth to other planets in our solar system. We’re not entirely sure when this animation was added, but it seems possible it was added as a nod to the latest installment in the Star Wars franchise. The design of the animation is also nearly identical to how it looks in the latest films.
So, of course, I had to check it out and it really is kind of neat. If you haven’t explored the planets elements of Google Maps, you really need to. There are so many ideas that come to mind for class use. The collection is impressive.
So, I’m warping between planets enjoying the animation and I had this nagging feeling that I’ve seen this before.
As it turns out, it wasn’t like this but more like the original opening crawling text to Star Wars.
Then it hit me. It was a Computer Science class a long time ago and far far away.
We did boring?! programming and one of the programs that we were writing dealt with creating navigation with menus and returning for smooth navigation and not letting the user get lost.
That wasn’t good enough for one student.
Instead of just going to the target of the menu, he inserted a Star Wars-like scroller that explained where the user was going and why. I remember thinking at the time “don’t you have better things to do?”. But, when I thought about it, doing this was probably far more challenging than the original assignment.
I’ve lost touch with this student. Who knows? Maybe he’s working for Google now. (grin) But the biggest bit of satisfaction for me was letting him include that in his code and making for a more sophisticated application.
Who knew that I’d see the concept again?