“The World Is Full of Interesting Things“, an online slideshow created by Google’s Creative Labs, gives you a compelling glimpse of the imaginative ways technology and the internet are being used (much of it in collaboration with Google technology). There are revelations in the realms of Audio, Movies, Vizual, Art, Physical, Light, Tech, Sport, Books, History and Advertising. The Advertising section that starts at #110 is a must for anyone trying to get a sense of crowd-sourcing and commercial uses for social media.
For us, the best stuff started a good ways into the show (at the bottom, left of the site, there’s a navigator that will take you to any of the 119 slides). Here are some of our favorites:
#77 Trans-Siberian Online (a virtual journey): Travel the length of the Trans-Siberian railway courtesy of Google Maps and a webcam with a audio version of Dostoyevsky for company. (Writing a novel and want to check out the terrain for descriptions…or home bound and need another view?
#82 Mind Control (a headset that reads your brainwaves): Tan Le’s demonstration at TED of a headset that allows you to control an interface using brainwave. (We’re thinking bio-feedback…could we learn to bring our stress level down while sitting at a computer?)
#93 Open-Access Data Journalism: The Guardian newspaper has an open strategy to data journalism, scraping public data, using open platforms like manyeyes and trimectric , sharing raw data via google docs, encouraging developers to mash-up and re-use data sets as well as coordinating mass investigations such as the mps expenses making insights available in impossibly short-times. (We’re wondering if this will make for fact or fiction…)
#109 Maps API = Time Machine: themannahattaproject.org takes you to Manhattan/Mannahatta in 1609. It is a version of Google’s HyperCities “a digital research and educational platform for exploring, learning about, and interacting with the layered histories of city and global spaces. Using Google Maps and Google Earth, HyperCities essentially allows users to go back in time to create and explore the historical layers of city spaces in an interactive, hypermedia environment”. A HyperCity is a real city overlaid with a rich array of geo-temporal information, ranging from urban cartographies and media representations to family genealogies and the stories of the people and diverse communities who live and lived there. (What a way to tour Paris or Istanbul…)
#107 HistoryPin: “Pin your history to the world”… historypin.co.uk is an initiative that lets people upload videos, place photos on maps and write their own historical accounts within a Google map. It overlays photographs on top of Street View to see present and past simultaneously. (We’re thinking this would be an especially effective tool for archiving in tiny, history-rich towns like Helvetia, West Virginia, about which we’ve posted.). In a similar mode #108 September 11 Memorial, allows people to overlay video testimonial and footage from 9/11 positioned from their own geographical perspective using streetview.
One answer that Google does not offer up: how to deal with the speed and crush of all this cool stuff?
(There are, curiously, quite a number of typos and mispellings in Google’s presentation… is this what the future holds too? We can relate…)