Google's Coolest 20% Project: Liquid Galaxy

[lg3At Google I/O this year, one demo booth stood out above all others: The Holodeck. It was basically eight giant, long screens arranged in a circle that displayed Google Street View imagery. When you stepped into the contraption, it was a bit like zooming around outside. Today, Google has taken the time to explain the project a bit, which it now calls “Liquid Galaxy.”

Apparently, the reason for the name change is that the booth now displays much more than just Street View. Google has made a modified Google Earth client so that you can go anywhere in the world in the device now. And you can even go to the Moon and Mars with it. “It felt more like a ride than a computer program, something between an observation-deck and a glass-walled spaceship. As a result of this totally seamless, immersive experience, we decided to name it the Liquid Galaxy,” Google writes.

While the company notes that this is still very much a 20% project for them, they are “working hard to improve it.” Hopefully that means two things: 1) Turning it into a Star Trek-style Holodeck. 2) Figuring out how to make it less than 10,000 degrees inside (thanks to all the screen heat).

Below, watch the video we took of the thing from Google I/O this year. Google notes that it’s currently touring around the world at various tech conferences. And they also apparently have a few on their campuses.