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Terra Bella (terrabella.google.com)
257 points by midko on Mar 11, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 159 comments



Is there a readable version of the web site that doesn't have obnoxious scrolling? Someone needs to tell their designers about the Principle of Least Surprise. I'll look at this after they fix this so it doesn't give me a headache.


I normally frown upon people getting too hung up on page design on HN, but this one I gotta admit is a real WTF'er. When you "scroll" down, it's doing page loads, and filling up browser history. Back back back back back back. Worse still, you think you've backed through all those page loads, and you find out it's one of those sites that keeps you from backing out of their site! We used to call this "breaking the back button" and Google used to discourage it.


Hell hath no fury like a HNer scorned by the inability to use their back button to bounce straight back to HN.


You have summarized it perfectly. I too fell prey to the anger from the broken back button.

This being said, I look forward to advanced imaging and the analysis Terra Bella will bring.


I got smacked with the broken back button too. Had to close the tab, re-load HN and find my place again.

I'm going to guess this is probably not intentional on their end. They're probably aware of the issue, but likely it's a side-effect of an architectural decision that was made previously and hard to un-make now.


How does an unusable page like this even pass preliminary design review? Perhaps the page works well on the 16-core desktop computers with giant monitors common in the ivory tower.


I'm not going to defend the design choices here but it performs fine on my four year old laptop running Firefox/Ubuntu, so it requires neither a very powerful hardware, nor Chrome which is a more common failure mode.


Runs like a bag of shit on my specced out Macbook Pro in Chrome.


On my very beefy computer, but with a 10 Mbps connection the experience is kind of shitty - it takes around half a second after a "scroll" for the content to appear.


It runs fine on my "ancient" 2008 TP X200. The problem is the hijacking of scrolling, and the back button...


I agree. Viewed it on a chromebook and the site performance was fine.


It's sluggish on my desktop i7/970 combo.


I made the mistake of clicking on the link while my kids were playing Minecraft PvP in the next room. Cue anguished shouts of "I'm lagging!" for the 30 seconds or so I spent staring at the loading icon.


7 year old iMac with a dodgy GPU, and I crashed and burned. Can only run in safe mode now.

While this is a not-uncommon occurrence for me, it's really freaking annoying.


iPhone 6S Plus - mobile safari crashed 3 times before I gave up


It doesn't crash on my iPhone 6 Plus, but it's practically unusable. 5-10 seconds of waiting for it to respond to trying to swipe down, and horrible frame rates while it does so.


Yep, totally broken for me on iOS.


3 year old MBA, Safari and it runs well.



Thanks. Seriously. I enjoyed reading that.


Wow. That was infinitely more readable. Better UX.


It's responsive too!


Jesus google. Politely: get your shit together before putting the webpage up.

Forget whether it breaks the back button. I'm going to say it again because apparently companies need it repeated: scrolling is annoying in itself, but I can't scroll without it breaking.

I scroll down, ok.

Wait, did a menu just appear at the top of my screen out of nowhere?

I keep scrolling down...

I scroll back up... wait a second...there's all these other pages I'm viewing now that I've never even seen before on the way down...what happened?

Ok, those little nav button things on the right hand side of my screen? Well apparently, I can't actually scroll to the bottom one...it just never gets there.

Wait no, I can get to the bottom one, if i start on the top one and scroll down, because apparently that makes me skip the other middle two buttons somehow, but if i click on the middle two buttons and scroll down, although i hit the bottom of the page, it still says i'm not at the bottom of the third nav-button. "What's going on?" i say to myself... Holy cow, wait...there's two nav buttons...a bar on the top and dots on the side?

All right, screw this, its broken, i'll just refresh and start from the beginning...oh no...refresh didn't bring me back to the beginning at all because I'm not actually on the original URL...

Sweet mercy...university lecture material example of how NOT to do a webpage anyone? And a google product at that?

What happened google?

Edit: and the bugs keep piling up the more I look at it, your Terabella link in the top left, not only does it duplicate the links in the other two navigation panes, but it doesn't work! It's taken me to two separate screens now!

Sorry, I'm in an angry mood today, but seriously...


This fad has got to stop.


The worst part was trying to Back. Just scrolling actually adds a bunch of URLs to your back queue, so when you want to back out of the URL, you end up hitting back like ten times. :/

I suppose New Tab would be my best friend here so I can just X it, but weird abuse of basic browser functionality should be shamed.


>The worst part was trying to Back. Just scrolling actually adds a bunch of URLs to your back queue

How does that happen?


One way is by using JS to change the address bar location using window.location or history.pushState(), instead of using history.relpaceState() which doesn't create an extra history entry each time.


I would vote for a president that ran a campaign _only_ based on quirky punishments for those who use history.pushState()

They should have to open a door repeatedly, only to have someone push them back when they try to walk through for a few weeks, for example!


Great idea. I would vote for that too. Like Sisyphus ...

Edit: spelling.


Got it, thanks. I think I've been experiencing similar stuff on some sites for the last few days, but my attention was more on the page topic, also may have thought that it was an issue with my mouse (that I had to click a few times to go to previous page). So it's good to know.


If you try using your browser's scrollbar their js fights back too...


I was surprised too -- I have the high-end 15" Retina MacBook with dedicated graphics and I couldn't get the page to perform after scrolling past the first part at all. It was slow, laggy and kept dropping frames. Very odd. Cool site, but it appears it isn't working as intended, as my dedicated graphics kept turning on and off.


My guess is that this was outsourced to some big agency that tried way too hard to design something cool and unique. What surprises me is that the internal Google team would look at this and find it acceptable. Anyone know which agency did it or if it was in fact an internal team?


I smite this page with the fury of a thousand developers cursing internet explorer 6.

This page is trash! I'm sure that there is some interesting info there but after hijacking my scrolling, and browsing history, I just don't care about it.


At least you got that far... using Google's Chrome to see Google's Terra Bella first time resulted in an "Aw, Snap" crash in Chrome before I got to the scrolling. Now I get there, but not without Chrome's "Rats! WebGL Hit a snag!" error.

From the sounds of it, it would have been more painful if everything worked.


This sort of fake scrolling also means that Chrome extensions like Full Screen Page Capture don't work.


Opening it up in lynx did wonders.


This isn't a product, it's an advertisement. Surprise is sometimes (often?) useful in advertising.


Yes, "View Source".


Readable version: [view-source:https://terrabella.google.com/?s=about-us&c=about-history] (paste whole text in between brackets, seems like HN does not support markdown links)

Great content, though original presentation is unusable. My whole computer started to lag, not only the web browser (chrome). Probably Google's web developers use very powerful workstations..


>Great content, though original presentation is unusable. My whole computer started to lag, not only the web browser (chrome). Probably Google's web developers use very powerful workstations..

Yes, this is one thing I've noticed; I think your guess is right. It is a peeve of mine about some Google products. Some of their other products seem to have the same or similar issues - and not just performance; truncated or somewhat unusable UI is another area, due to monitor size, for one.

When Wave first came out, I tried, it was so slow as to be unusable.

You'd think that they would test their products on lower-specced hardware, knowing that not everyone has the same h/w as them.


This post makes me wonder about space pollution/saturation.

Are there any resources that talk about what is a safe number of satellites for different altitudes and the effects of space pollution?

I have heard of the Kessler Syndrome, any suggestions that discuss this?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kessler_syndrome


With the explosion of commercial space in the past 30 years and the end of the Cold War, the space agencies are very concerned about this issue and there is a lot of tracking and cooperation. The regulatory process for launch is quite lengthy, and debris concerns are absolutely addressed industry-wide.

Generally as part of the permitting process you have to file an Orbital Debris Assessment Report that contains predictions for orbital lifetime, what will happen to the satellite at EOL, systems for putting the satellite in a safe orbit in case of in-service failure, launch failure etc, risk of collision with other orbital objects and so on.

The details differ depending what orbital regime. Things at ISS altitude (~400km) or below will deorbit very quickly (days to months). Terra Bella and other earth observation satellites are typically in slightly altitude, sun-synchronous, near-polar orbits. They will need to carry propellant to drop the vehicle down to a lower orbit when they are taken out of service, otherwise the orbital lifetime will be 5-50 years.

Geosynchronous satellites are basically going to be up there forever, so they are placed into a slightly lower (but still extremely high) parking orbit after their useful life ends. This keeps them out of the way of the active satellites, and the orbit there is so large that collisions are unlikely.

Finally, the US maintains radar tracking, and will notify operators if a collision is possible so they can make a maneuver. Generally a small adjustment, if performed ahead of time, is sufficient to reduce the probability of collision significantly.

The scary things are debris that are too small to track but large enough to cause damage, and situations where non-operational satellites conjuct.

Fun fact: if the conjunction probability is high enough, the Air Force will call you in the middle of the night.


> Are there any resources that talk about what is a safe number of satellites for different altitudes and the effects of space pollution?

Lots. It tracks radius squared, if not cubed. As altitude gets large (which you need for orbit anyway), you can fit a ton of small satellites safely.


"Space is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly hugely mindbogglingly big it is. I mean you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space." The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy


This is called the "big sky theory". Most people thought a satellite collision would never happen. Then it did: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_satellite_collision


Space is big, but low earth orbit isn't as roomy.


But isn't it?

I mean low earth orbit is at least as much space as we have on the surface, which is already pretty damn big.

Yeah, speeds and orbits and stuff change the game a bit, but i can't imagine even a few thousands of satellites cramping a space that large.


I support the collision risk management system for a few of the Earth observation satellites at NASA. Pollution of low Earth orbit is a big deal. There are thousands of individual objects being tracked up there. Some of them are satellites that have exceeded their lifespan, some of them are parts of later stage boosters, and some are debris from previous collisions.

When a satellite nears the end of its life expectancy, US law requires that the remainder of the propellant be used to decelerate it so it disintegrates in the atmosphere over the ocean. Presumably European and Asian space agencies have similar rules. These rules didn't used to exist, and there's stuff that's been up for decades.

Yes, these objects are very far apart, but they are moving very fast, and there are surprisingly many of them. Operational satellites are extremely valuable, and if we anticipate anywhere close to a 1 in 1000 chance that one of these objects will collide with one of our satellites, we will burn some of the irreplaceable propellant to avoid it.


The problem is we want a lot of things to be in geostationary orbit, which is only possible at a specific altitude. That effectively transforms the "space" from three dimensions to two because the third relative coordinate for all of those things has to be the same.

Which is when relative motion becomes a problem. The Empire State Building and the Trump Building are at approximately the same altitude (i.e. sea level) but you don't have to worry about them crashing into each other because their relative position doesn't change. In space everything is in relative motion which effectively costs you another dimension.

Then you no longer have "space" you just have "a line" and if two things are at the same point on the line, they eventually crash into each other.


Actually, the useful part of the geostationary orbit is 1 dimensional, because the satellites have to be at the right height and over the equator. It's called the "Clarke Belt": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geostationary_orbit

But anyway space is very big and the probability of collisions is still low. Two geostationary satellites out of control would probably not collide, they will pass a few hundred of meters away in any direction. The big distance between them is mostly to avoid interference between the radio signals.


There are geosynchronous (not = geostationary) orbits which trace an analemma in the sky, that are also very useful.


You also don't have to worry about things in geostationary orbit crashing into each other ;)


The things in geostationary orbit don't crash into each other, they just constitute a relatively high density of "stuff" all in one place that non-geostationary objects at the same altitude could hit every time they cross the equator.

The worst case would presumably be something large and heavy put into orbit around the equator at the same altitude and speed as geostationary orbit but going in the opposite direction.


A geostationary orbit is at an altitude of 35,786 km -- much, much higher than non-geosynchronous satellites need to be.


We've already had our first accidental crash between intact satellites. If SpaceX and other low-cost launch providers succeed in making stuff like low-orbit satellite internet a reality, we'll need to figure this out.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_satellite_collision


The problem is overall pollution of exit trajectories... Imagine how much more difficult it will be in 100 years to launch anything without hitting something on the way out. It should be a requirement of any satellite manufacturer to have a decomm plan. A plan which will eject the thing from orbit, or let it burn up on re-entry.

Tell me why you might think thats a bad idea?


Are you suggesting something different from the current rules about that? It's a requirement in the US; not all countries have made it mandatory.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_debris#Growth_mitigation


Oceans also have more space than we have on the surface (given its third dimension) and we manage to ruin those pretty badly.


That's not a very responsible way of looking at it.

It's not an infinite amount of space, so without taking some precautions it would fill up over time, and it's undoubtedly easier and cheaper to avoid the problem altogether than it is to fix it once it becomes a problem.

"________ is huge, we don't have to worry about it!" is how we ended up with so much pollution on earth, so why make the same mistake in space?


The ESA has a really interesting segment on the space debris problem and possible solutions.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tN_CvGJKMOs


As long as the satellites are under a certain mass, they will eventually get too close to Earth and burn up once they are pulled into reentry.


That doesn't really depend on mass, but on drag and altitude.

See for example Figure 10 of: http://www.agi.com/downloads/resources/white-papers/20110808...


Yea, that makes much more sense.

I've always wanted to get a group of people together at my college and build a CubeSat but when you say "I want to build a satellite" people think you are crazy.

We have the labs, the supplies, and the ability to expense anything we want but no one thinks it is possible.


Just do it. You'd be surprised at what money and support may come your way ;) It's very much possible.


I can't encourage this enough.

It was one of the most rewarding things I did in college. We launched a cubesat and used it to capture images of the curvature of the Earth and measure the Earth's magnetic field. The work to build the cubesat was tough, but extremely rewarding.

Edit:

Check out http://www.nasa.gov/offices/education/programs/national/spac... and see if you can find a local Space Grant program. They'd more than likely be able to either get you the resources or point you in the right direction to get going.

We launched ours via a ballon which had the cubesats attached to it. We needed a micro-controller (even easier to find now) a camera and our sensors. All very obtainable. I think the most expensive thing was the magnetometers which ran $80 a pop.


While it's still very cool, hanging a sensor off a balloon in the upper atmosphere isn't quite the same thing as launching a satellite into orbit (by about 8 km/s).


You may be interested in this[1] post by Charles Stross. I think there are a few very insightful comments on there.

[1] http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2015/09/the-skys...


We have a lot of junk in Low Earth Orbit.

http://stuffin.space/


The largest class of debris object, by mass, is unspent boosters from launches in the 50s-70s. Lots of old Soviet stuff up there.

Kessler Syndrome can be brought under control with as few as five upper stage boosters brought out of orbit per year. Whether the political will exists to spend money to clean up our space mess is another issue entirely.


Its frighteningly polluted! http://stuffin.space/


While it will have some great uses, it also brings more surveillance and predictive analytics (if that's the term) to the world, and chillingly they don't address the social issues at all.

Will Google use this, or allow others to use this, to surveil me from space? How about protesters at this summer's U.S. political conventions? Will they allow me to use this to watch Google's headquarters?

It also concentrates more power in the hands of a few. If the predictive tech works well, how can ordinary people who don't have access to that information compete? As investors in the stock market? Their small business in the marketplace? As a grassroots competitor in a political campaign?


IMO, there is nothing greater good vs mass surveillance that will come of this.

This is an NSA wet dream privatized and privately funded by Google.

Sounds great but we all know what's going to happen with this data.


I'd like Google to track down highway patrol cops and integrate it with Waze / Maps.


Such technology is already being used in this way, and has been compared chillingly to tracking 'precrime'; there is a terrifying Radiolab episode on it:

http://www.radiolab.org/story/eye-sky/


Thats about Gorgon Stare and similar plane / blimp / drone based survillance.

Satellites orbit at an altitude several 100 times higher and are much less invasive. There are a lot of cool applications, like cartography, monitoring farmland, monitoring the icecaps, etc.

I care deeply about civil liberties, but I think this is not the droid we're looking for.


Very ambitious. Will be interesting to see how it pans out.

Interestingly, Google acquired Terra Bella in 2014. Even though the domain says google.com, is this an Alphabet subsidiary or part of Google itself?


Skybox rebranded to Terra Bella on Mar 8th 2016. They were acquired and placed in the Geo organization (Maps) so they aren't just floating about as a one-off: http://spacenews.com/googles-skybox-imaging-has-new-name-bus...


It's funny, they're named after the street that their office is on. Which is where their office was the whole time, but the new name is actually a better fit for what they do than the old one was.


I'm also curious about this. Isn't this exactly the kind of project Alphabet was created to wrap? i.e. something not related to Google's core business but still under the corporate umbrella?


Terra Bella is under Geo, which is where Maps resides. Seems like a pretty good fit to me, given that satellite imagery is presented in Maps. Why do you think Terra Bella should be in Alphabet?


That makes perfect sense actually. I was erroneously thinking of Terra Bella as a standalone project instead of as an extension to one of Google's core products.


My guess is it would be, but hasn't been formally spun out yet?


It's actually impossible to use this page on mobile. Scrolling is just locked.


It doesn't work on my macbook pro, either (running chrome). It's so broken it's kind of amusing.


It is terri-bell...


This comment is just... perfect


All I got was a blue webpage. No loading icons or anything


Hold on hold on. This is a big swarm of satellites and (I assume) a forthcoming API and the comments are "the scrolling sucks"? They could have used tables and comic sans for all I care. This is awesome.

Though Planet Labs will always be my first affection in this space. Talk about a hard and interesting problem. This data takes you to so many different places.


Usually I'd agree... but I legitimately cannot access the content because the page is so broken. I actually found out what this thing is from your comment.


Normally I'd agree, but in this case I literally tried on three devices -- two Google Android phones and a very powerful laptop running Google Chrome on a fast connection and it not only took forever to load but was completely nonfunctional when it finally did. I literally couldn't access the content whatever I did. This is one of the most ridiculous examples of a site not working that I have ever seen. If I had not opened this thread I would have literally no idea what the site even was. If I were able I would fire the person responsible for the site, no questions asked. This site is so far past "nonfunctional" it isn't even funny. I agree that "They could have used tables and comic sans for all I care. This is awesome.", but there's a huge difference between "somewhat ugly presentation", "horrible presentation", "unusable for most people", and "a professional web developer with three devices and many web browsers could not make your page load".

Regarding the content of the page, which has been summarized at http://pastebin.com/raw/kYpdLgYg by commenter Raphmedia, I'm impressed. 90cm resolution in a 100kg package is pretty crazy. That they control the multimillion dollar satellite through a web interface is interesting. One clear advantage they have over governmental systems is their ability to do international launches (their initial launch from French Guiana certainly gave them some significant boost of tangential velocity compared to say, Russia, which is geologically screwed.) If anyone wants to see a visualization of that, see http://i.imgur.com/6c9Edge.png


I still do not know how is this actionable. So, they have satellites that take cool pictures, ok. Are they selling the stuff? Sharing an API?


This is afaict a pr buzz piece. They apparently are hiring.


I think this is also surveilance-wash so to speak. Look at our cool team, look at our wonderful use cases. Don't think about how it can track the movement of everybody in a city from space. We're good.


Very valuable data to finance - commodities and macro trading could use this data to understand supply and demand trends, like a robust version of "Helicopter Edge": http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2013-12-19/helicopter-...


Whether it's a consumer sale (sign up via web and get an API key) I do not know, but if you have a compelling use I'm sure you can get access by talking to humans. In terms of what you can use it for, I know people have built applications on top of Planet Labs to run queries from counting the number of cars in Walmart parking lots every day for hedge funds to tracking deforestation.


> but if you have a compelling use I'm sure you can get access by talking to humans.

So they make money by potential customers guessing at what they can provide them and reaching out to them? Seems like a terrible way to do business.

Unless I missed it (which would be easy; damn is it hard to get to the content on that site) I see no information about anything other than what they do internally. Which is cool but that's about where it ends.


Where do you see any info on an API?


God, no kidding. These comments are a disaster.


They could have used tables and comic sans, and it would have been an improvement because if nothing else I could have read the content.

As it is, I kind of get the idea...sort of. Something about satellites, imagery, real-time somethingerother. There's complaining about weird scrolling and "broke my back button", which many of us tire of, and then's there's "hi! Didn't know if you noticed, but your site's broken on the most commonly-used browsers, broken to the point that many cannot read what I'm sure is absolutely awesome content." In other words, had this been a marketing page for something people don't give two shites about, the column that holds the abandonment rate in their analytics DB would have to use a float lest the tiny, tiny percentage of people who didn't immediately close the browser tab be recorded as "zero".

So I'll take your word for it when you say it's awesome. Currently, I am not equipped to confirm that with Mac OS X and Safari or Chrome.


> This is a big swarm of satellites and (I assume) a forthcoming API

How can I know if I can't read the content? I'm not exaggerating - simply not usable.


Interesting.

If you like satellite images and some interesting analysis, I suggest checking out Nasa's earth observatory.

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/


What am I supposed to see?

http://imgur.com/RXMn72r


Interesting, it worked okay on Edge for me. Though the initial splash thing was a bit slow/chunky.


You're supposed to see a redirect to chrome.google.com :)


The top three comments complaining about site's usability. The fourth top level comment actually wonders about space pollution. Lets get our shit together, HN.

Let's comment anything, but upvote things about Terra Bella and it's potential applications, because there's no website that would please everybody.


I would prefer comments be nestable and root level comments should be collapsed by default.


Sometimes HN is a bunch of crotchety old grumps yelling about how web fonts don't work with their 10 year old version of Opera.


Frontend devs, please for the love of whatever you deem holy, stop fucking up the browser back button and scrolling.


This is something equivalent to what geo-mapping companies have been doing around large industrial areas using low-flying aeroplanes taking high-res photography for analysis.

It's basically "adding satellite" to geo-mapping technology to "address real-time demand and analysis".

It's all good if they keep this shit near the mining/farming/ports, etc.

However, this being Google (Big Brother), you can expect that they'd try using this for "traffic analysis" (cause Waze is not enough) and then slowly encroach into your neighbourhood, so that when they finally launch their blimps, you can look at the sky and you will see the ads that your browser blocked.

Granted though, if Google isn't/wasn't going to do this, somebody else probably will (or already is).


It's interesting that it's a "Google company" and not "Alphabet".


Why is that interesting? Geospatial data is one of Google's largest lines of business. It was Google's third major effort after search and email. They've been in the business for over a decade.


Interesting. I'm assuming there will be areas that we are prohibited from imaging. Will these be limited to areas defined by the US Government or every government that Google works with?


They likely can take images of everywhere in the world. They will very likely be limited as to who they can sell certain areas to, at various resolutions. The US government restricts sale of imagery under 31cm resolution currently, but previously it was 50cm. Neither of those restrictions would apply to these satellites which are 90cm resolution, but similar things will probably apply elsewhere. I believe Israel is one of those places with a coarser limit in place.


Having worked in this area, I can say you are on the right track. Not only the US, there are many countries/powers that will get very upset if certain people see certain areas.

As for who gets to see what, there are extremely stringent rules set by many of these governments; even within government organizations themselves, there is huge variation in access constraints.


This seems strange to me, considering there is high resolution "birds eye"(taken from a plane) imagery of a variety of sensitive US installations available on Bing, not to mention what's on Google Maps/Earth. There are other sources as well.


As an aside, I have worked at Oyu Tolgoi and been there several times.

It is one impressive gold mine. IIRC the power station for the mine site is almost 30% of the entire countries existing prodution capacity.

Awesome.


This is Skybox Imaging.[1] Google bought them in 2014.

When, after the long loading delay, a globe appeared, I thought I'd be able to manipulate and view the globe. No such luck; it's just a static-appearing site.

[1] https://goo.gl/maps/ZgQZG4WEyoN2


I don't get it, what's new? There are a number of companies doing satellite imagery, you can usually find them by reading the name on the bottom right of your Google Maps view.

And yes, these companies also track mining fields and what not, they just don't pretend it's some charity thing.


Obviously something is different about this and they feel the need for preemptive branding.


Holy crap, that took forever to load...


Can someone either summarize what this is, or point to a another reference?

My questions: How does it make my life better. What can I do with this service, that I couldn't do before.

As others mentioned, the website is difficult to understand (for me at least)


Ok I found this, but it's just as nebulas.

"As proud as we are to have played a leading role in developing satellite technologies, we have realized that our vision extends far beyond boxes in the sky. As Google revolutionized search for the online world, we have set our eyes on pioneering the search for patterns of change in the physical world. In order to focus firmly on the future, we’re pursuing that vision under a new name – Terra Bella."


Thanks for the quote. And just fyi it's "nebulous" :)


No "meta" "description" nor "keywords" on <head> (Sorry, I dream on a future where keywords are relevant). Tens of <script> at bottom.

I bet all of you are crashing because of the webgl stuff.


Can't even bother to read this. Is it just a rebranded site for Skybox post-Google?

I can honestly say Skybox had an extremely usable site previously. This is downright horrible.


Two takeaways: 1. Big brother is watching (and photographing -- yikes) everything. 2. The website is horribly slow on a 4 year old laptop.


Which one do you prefer? Alan Parson's sombre take (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNiie_zmSr8) or Judas Priest's angry laser-tinged screed (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1B_pZC8aWU) as the soundtrack to our state of total surveillance?


Site is too buggy to even read this short text and Google give guidelines to webmasters how to make their sites...


The page doesn't even load for me... (latest Chromium browser on OS X)


Wow I expect a big acquisition of planet labs soon.


It consistently crashes Chrome on my iPad.


anybody have luck with the "join us" link? Doesn't show up on google's job search


anyone know the breed of that dog on the "Meet our team" section ?


It looks most similar to a Siberian Husky to me, although the face is different. Possibly a mixed breed from the husky, or just a unique looking husky.


I can't see it :|


I can't see it :(


This project is amazing. The site's scrolling should be memorialized in a museum of awful user experiences for posterity's sake.


Does anyone really like this kind of scrolljacking pages? Not responding properly on an MBP 2015. The project looks so interesting that I tortured myself by scrolling till the end.

To me it feels similar to invasion of space.


> Does anyone really like this kind of scrolljacking pages?

Web devs. I guess it's like an accomplishment for them to create sth. like this (tho I didn't see it, just what I saw from the comments, if it's laggy on a recent macbook, I don't bother). In this context I think it is a bit like high-fructose corn syrup: The whole thing seems superfluous, what would I be able to do if I could watch a volcano eruption? Throw water from a plane? Tweet #stoplavaviolence? What benefit would I, or any construction companies would have from watching that particular gold mine? If I have a business there, I'd probably know what's going on, and I'd try to make acquaintances to get information directly, instead of trying to get it out of some pixels. If a video from high up was needed for an humanitarian situation, a helicopter can go up and take the video. All this stupidity should be marketed, and the website is the confectioner's sugar for the crap called Terra Bella. Terra bella, coeptum superfluus.


Not working on Win10 with latest Chrome either.

Clicks ("Next Observation") take me down and then up where I was; then scrolling is jumpy and extremely annoying to read


I couldn't agree more. I'm constantly surprised by the number of people that implement it.


Doesn't Google hire the best of the best?


Yep, it's a very ambitious project, but the scrolling is utterly broken for me (firefox 43.0 on Debian), and seeing from other comments, I'm not the only one.

Wonder how someone can possibly ship a website where the scrolling is so broken.


If you saw the launch of YouTube Gaming as well, or how the old version of Google+ ran on not-Chrome, you'd have long reached the conclusion that nobody at Google tests on non-Google web browsers. My understanding is they like using 'web technologies' that they invented that either aren't implemented or well-supported in any browser but their own.


Looks wonderful in chrome.


Looks wonderful, perhaps, but plays wonderful it does not. There must have been 12 history items added to my back button before I was able to "scroll" down even a fraction of the page...


Chrome 48, Windows 10. I actually opened the task manager to see if some bg process was torturing the CPU after trying to scroll.


It gets worse if you browse the web with zoom. At 125% zoom scrolling gets stuck on the third stage for me and imagery is consistently cut off. If you then use the scroll bar all bets are off, and the site very slowly stutters from one random place to the next (not to mention, that there's zero thought put into a graceful fallback when JS is disabled, although with e.g. lynx you at least get to see the site's text instead of just the loading icon).


Unbearable scrolling behavior in Chrome on a late 2013 MBP.


I (and likely many others on this site) am tired of people complaining about weird-scrolling sites, but this one is exceptional: I can't get it to actually display the content! At some point scrolling gets somehow stuck and I can't scroll down anymore.


Works for me with Firefox 46 and no ad-blocker/script-blocker except uBlock.

However, navigating the page is confusing as hell, I stumbled through it by using the little arrows on my scrollbar. Everything else would catapult me to seemingly random positions on the page. Seems to me they hijacked scrolling to make "one line down" "one section down".

Not going to lie, after fighting with the scrolling, I closed the page and came here to look for an explanation what this is all about - not going to click any links there.


> At some point scrolling gets somehow stuck and I can't scroll down anymore.

You just have to scroll harder. Seriously. Every time it got stuck for me I just tried scrolling faster and after a few swipes it would move on.


My fan is going crazy, and I'm having trouble even tabbing to another app on a mid-2014 MBP.


Ditto, that page used insane amounts of CPU or something


It runs really nicely on my 4.4 GHz i4790k windows pc. Get a better computer? ;)


Since when is a 4.4 GHz computer required to view a static presentation website?


I guess I should have used some explicit means of conveying sarcasm.


Hah, sorry it was lost in translation :)




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