While Google Maps was probably hoping that Internet users would enjoy the practical side of their new satellite image technology, it was also likely that they expected people to have a little bit of fun with it. Sure enough, two Scottish brothers and one of their co-workers have banded together to launch a Blog devoted to all the fun places you can "visit" via Google Maps.

Earlier this month, we ran an article that explored the integration of the Keyhole satellite technology into Google Maps, (read: Google Maps Integrates Keyhole Satellite View) and how it could be used for local search. The Scottish trio latched on to the idea and decided to tour the world from the comfort of their cubicles.

Google Sightseeing, as the blog is called, works off of the trio's motto: "Why Bother Seeing the World for Real?" I can understand their logic... When Keyhole first came out, my husband literally spent hours on it looking up every landmark and vacation spot he could think of. My brother-in-law, a coaster-nut, looked up every single amusement park he could think of. They would fit right in with the bunch at the Google Sightseeing blog.

The concept is simple enough. Users visit the Google Maps site and type in an address. Once a map pops up, users select the "satellite" link from the top right corner of the screen and they can get an aerial photograph of the location they've searched for. This allows them to locate images of popular landmarks like the Sears Tower, Yankee Stadium or the home of The Ohio State Buckeyes.

According to an interview with Newsweek, the site came about after Alex Turnbull used the tool to take a virtual tour of the United States. Turnbull looked up popular spots like Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon. From there, the idea expanded and the trio set up a blog site that allowed reader to submit their own unique finds. The site has picked up attention around the blogosphere with Google itself linking to the site from its own corporate blog. Now readers send in their own discoveries, from Area 51 to New England cranberry bogs. (No images of crop circles have popped up yet.)

The site is worth a visit for anyone that's a big fan of maps and traveling. I can already picture my husband seeking out cool locations worth submitting. Sure, there's no practical value to this search site, but every now and then, you've got to have a little bit of fun.

Check out Google Maps at: http://www.google.com/maps
Check out Google Sightseeing at: http://www.googlesightseeing.com/

Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.
April 27, 2005

Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.

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