Saturday, January 27, 2007

An interesting innovation

Google has come up with an interesting idea: linking Google Books with Google Maps. That is, when a book describes a location, they provide a link to their map software so a person can visualize the location.
Google Books has started to "animate the static information" in written works by linking location references to its interactive Google Maps software.

Clicking on words pinpointing certain places in books will connect readers to maps of the spots, according to Google engineer David Petrou.

"Why not visualize places mentioned in books on a map?" Petrou asked rhetorically in a weblog on the company website.

"Now you can. Fact, fiction, old and new, we seek to present maps when helpful across all kinds of books."

Titles already augmented with interactive maps include Around the World in Eighty Days, War and Peace, The Travels of Marco Polo, and The 9/11 Commission Report, according to Google.

"We hope this feature helps you plan your next trip, research an area for academic purposes, or visualize the haunts of your favorite fictional characters," wrote Petrou. "Above all, have fun."

Although given the format Google Books is in, that might be kinda awkward.

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