Ian Webster

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I'm an engineer at Google. I created Asterank, acquired by Planetary Resources in 2013. I was an early engineer and tech lead at Room 77, acquired by Google in 2014.

In late 2014 I started Alioth, a consulting firm focused on data analytics and visualization.


  • 2015
    • Perseids, a simulation of what meteor showers look like from space.
    • Ceres in 3D, a globe showing the Dawn spacecraft's mapping of Ceres.
    • Pluto in 3D, an interactive globe showing our exploration of Pluto from 1930 to 2015.
    • Ancient Earth, interactive globe that shows what the Earth used to look like, up to 600 million years ago (Chrome Experiment).
    • google-pagerank, an npm module for checking pagerank, along with a no-bullshit pagerank checker.
    • Neutral Gas, micro carbon offsets for individual gas fill-ups.
    • DinosaurPictures.org, the world's #1 source for awesome dinosaur pictures.
    • The Space Potato, a successful kickstarter for a potato-powered mission to near space.
    • Interview Club, a marketplace for companies to hire top-tier engineers to screen their candidates, won 5 prizes ($13,500 cash) at LAUNCH Hackathon.
    • Meteor Showers, visualizations of meteor streams for the SETI Institute.
    • High-Altitude Balloons that take pictures from near-space.
  • 2014
    • Asteroid Model Viewer, accurate 3D interactive webgl models of asteroids (Chrome Experiment).
    • Luna, 3D interactive moon visualization.
    • RapChat, revolutionizing communication in the 21st century - a work in progress.
    • AdDetector, a browser plugin that spots articles with corporate sponsors (Wall Street Journal, Engadget, The Verge, Lifehacker, PCWorld, German Public Radio(!?), Consumerist, etc).
    • ListeningPost, an app that provides realtime context for meetings and conversations (finalist at YC hacks).
    • CodeNav, a browser extension that makes navigating code on Github much better.
    • techinterviews.co, a marketplace for technical interview coaches and mentors.
    • TextBelt International, the free texting API that now works in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and parts of Asia (CNET, OSX Daily)
    • TalkThen, a site that starts phone meetings at exactly the scheduled time, so your calls never start late
    • Bunkmates, a community for people looking to split hotel rooms and save lots of money (LAUNCH hackathon)
    • HonestMemo, an internal company forum that solicits feedback and constructive criticism
  • 2013
    • Candid Candidates, a browser extension that annotates political news with facts, won $1500 at Seattle Open Government hackathon
    • apple-monitor, an open source way to monitor Apple inventory
    • autoreload, a script and node middleware that refreshes your browser as you develop
    • Asterank Discover, crowdsourced asteroid discovery (10k+ users, 180k+ images reviewed, maybe some asteroids discovered)
    • Watchtower, a service that monitors your business competition, finalist at LAUNCH hackathon.
    • Galaxies, a 2 billion light-year cubed visualization of the largest n-body simulation ever.
    • Asterank v2, major updates including new dataviz and scientific APIs, featured on BBC News.
    • Verified Facts, a conspiracy theory generator, viral with over half a million conspiracies generated (boingboing, Neil Gaiman)
    • In 2013 Dollars, a quick reference site for inflation
  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2010
    • lok, a curses-based encrypted journal/notes editor in C
    • Gilded Age, a newspaper content analysis and visualization project
  • Posts