Microsoft’s ChronoZoom: One Web Page, 13.7 Billion Years of History

Wow! chequen esto! lo q logra Microsoft Research esta increible!

One of the hardest things to figure out when you hang around Microsoft Research demos is how or when any of this amazing stuff will ever see the light of day. Hell, even Microsoft Research director Rick Rashid thinks the department’ChronoZooms real value is in being a stockpile of ideas, and not so much a product pipeline.

But as of today, there’s at least one more example of Microsoft R&D in the wild—and it’s got the potential to make history research a lot more interesting. Known as ChronoZoom, the project combines the best parts of advanced Web interfaces and multilayered information sources like Wikipedia into one slick package.

The thing that will grab most people right away are the visuals, and rightly so—ChronoZoom’s centerpiece is an interactive timeline that not only scrolls from left to right, but also drills down inside itself, taking the user on a deep dive that truly conveys the vastness of time and space.

At every unfolding layer within ChronoZoom, there’s content—and plenty of room for more—that helps explain what was happening at that slice of history. And it’s rich stuff, including HD videos and other multimedia offerings.

Simply put, it’s one Web page that has enough room to hold all 13.7 billion years of known history, from the Big Bang to present day.

That’s my best shot at explaining it in words, but you have to go play with it to get the full effect. Do so by visiting ChronoZoom directly (make sure your browser is up to date), and also check out this video from Microsoft Research giving some more insight into the project. As you’ll see, one of the funnest parts is zooming from the “Cosmos” level down to something on the opposite end of the scale, like human history—and then jumping back out again.

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