Google Earth gives users the ability to fly around the earth - so why not allow people to fly through space? That's exactly what Google's trying to do now, and they've joined the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope project to make it happen.
The telescope is a "proposed ground-based 8.4-meter, 10 square-degree-field" that will capture the heavens every 15 seconds. But the telescope won't be built until 2013, so don't expect a Google Space program to come out anytime soon.
I like the idea of doing this, although it wasn't such a suprise that a thing like this was coming. For one thing, a space program is almost hinted at in Google Earth. Zooming out far enough brings stars into view. I know I desired to see the heavens when I zoomed out into space with Google Earth.
An interesting idea would be to link Google Space and Google Earth together. Such a program would then not only allow you to get faraway pictures of planets, but then you could zoom into Earth, or even perhaps view constalations from an Earth point-of-view?
Secondly, Google's got a ton of money. So much that they're worrying even the big giants like Microsoft. Google can get done what needs to be done, and do it professionally.
The joining of this project wasn't for any immediate gains however, according to Jon Murchinson. It'll be interesting to see how Google manages to make profit from this one once the service is created, because I doubt that they'll place ads on the sides like they do with many of their web-based services. Google will find a way though, believe me.
If and when Google creates such a program, they will be by no means the first to do so. 4DTU is a four-dimensional view of the universe, even giving time impressions. Another star-viewer is Celestia. Knowing Google, they will have several advantages, not the least of which is high-quality software. Also, they have the popularity which will likely rub off on a space-based program.
And you thought space was only for astronomers who could afford expensive telescopes...