Following the theme of the previous post, Google has taken yet another step toward bringing together search and location relevance. Its new “Favorite Places” program asks 100 “experts” to identify their favorite places on the globe. By expert, it means various celebrities or scholars in different fields, such as Al Gore or Tony Hawk.
Each one is given a signature pushpin, which shows up on Google maps at his or her favorite spots. The locations can be restaurants, landmarks, concert venues, etc. The pushpins are the same upside-down tear-shaped location markers you see on Google maps, except they are customized with specific art for each expert. Google has also placed a few life-size pushpins at real-life locations.
It’s an intriguing idea that could extend beyond just an invited group of celebrities. I could picture Google allowing the rest of us to opt into a program where you design your own pushpin and identify favorite spots. This of course would get cluttered, so instead of a “public” view, it would be limited (filtered) by your friends or social graph — which would plug right into Latitude.
This is kind of what Google has already done with the little-known (and little-used) MyMaps, but the timing is better now to push something more robust, along these lines. It ties right in with several cultural trends including celebrity voyeurism and “following” people’s favorite things to do and see, i.e., the “Statusphere.”
To get a better idea of how it looks, see Google’s video on the new service here.