This adventure started with my birthday wish on a Post-It note.

So how do you launch a project in one week?

It helps to have a working demo. After our satellite maps integration was completed, Chikai, a Google Earth engineer, had time to make his lunar dream a reality -- sort of. Everyone loved the demo but it gathered moon dust for a few months while Google Earth was being readied.

Until Google acquired Keyhole, Chikai and I both lacked co-workers with the same birthday. Fortunately, someone raised the moon idea again on our birthday. And thus the wish was made. Interestingly enough, several product people are also moon children, which probably helped.

A week later, we've achieved lift-off for Google Moon. It's great to stand on the shoulders of giants, especially the brave and brilliant people at NASA we commemorate and whose data made this possible. And it's energizing to work at a company that can translate a birthday wish into a product in a week.

Even so, we haven't included the Moon's 22 seas, 8 Soviet Luna landings, 3 NASA Ranger impacts, and 7 NASA Surveyor landings. Ah, well. There's always next year.