"The statistical result is loud and clear. And the statistical result is that planets like our own Earth are out there. Our Milky Way galaxy is rich in these kinds of planets." –Dimitar Sasselov
There's a bittersweet feeling to this announcement. Although the news is groundbreaking, it's a shame that it was leaked during a TED talk rather than being released via official channels from the whole Kepler team.
Keith Cowing, of NASAWatch.com, goes one step further, pointing out that it's wrong for this news to be announced in the U.K., only for the news to finally break weeks later.
"What is really annoying is that the Kepler folks were complaining about releasing information since they wanted more time to analyze it before making any announcements," Cowing adds. "And then the project's Co-I goes off and spills the beans before an exclusive audience - offshore. We only find out about it when the video gets quietly posted weeks later."
Although this announcement could have been handled much better (personally, I think it might be best until we hear what NASA has to say), all indications are that we are about to have our eyes opened to the possibility that Earth is no longer a unique world. It belongs to a common type of planet found throughout our galaxy.