Google has taken its Google Sky functions and made them available on Google Maps as well as Google Earth. Google Sky for Maps features much of the same space imagery as its Google Earth counterpart. You can zoom in (out?) for a closer view of deep space objects and stars. There are also links that highlight planets and constellations.
With both versions of Google Sky I’ve had problems – not from a technical standpoint but from a point of reference. I have a basic understanding of astronomical coordinate systems, but I don’t know whether or not Sky pans from a specific geographic point, etc. While I like looking at the great images, I get confused very easily with Sky.
In addition to Google Sky, they have come out with map versions for the Moon and Mars. To me, these are bit more intuitive than Sky because it is based on a terrestrial model. There are placemarks for various lunar landings and Mars expeditions, as well as names of prominent features. To be honest, though, I’m finding so much to explore just here in Earth that I haven’t spent much time looking at these other worldly locations. I’m please that Google is expanding its offerings, I just don’t know how much I’ll actually use it.