Bill Gates and Google are working together by both being involved in the Andean-based Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, the 'world's largest digital camera'.

This LSST will take large scale photos of the night sky. Over 30 thousand gigabytes (30TB) of images will be generated every night during the decade-long LSST sky survey. That's 3.56PB a year. The massive amount of data from LSST must be managed efficiently and analyzed in real time.

This is, to put it in context, only about a fifth of the data generated annually by CERN's hadron collider experiment, but it is still a heck of a lot of data.

Key areas in the Google-LSST collaboration will be: organizing the massive ingestion of information, processing and analyzing the continuous data streams in a 24/7 fault tolerant manner, enabling the new discoveries coming out of the LSST to be made available to the public and researchers in real time, and working with and managing large parallel data systems. LSST data will be publicly available over the Internet.

No info yet on where the LSST data base will be located.

Gates and fellow Microsoft alumnus Charles Simonyi are both contributing privately to help the costs of the telescope and its mirror. Google will have more data for its Google Sky mapping service. Computing in the cloud will have its credentials enhanced.