Waiting For a New Hobbit Movie? Explore Google Maps of Middle-Earth
Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien is one of the first books that I’ve read and I love it. Although Tolkien himself included painstakingly detailed hand-drawn maps in the print editions of his works I was happy to hear that Google and Warner Bros Pictures have collaborated on a project called “Chrome Experiment” which aims to create a virtual Google Map of the Middle-Earth – J.R.R. Tolkien‘s fantasy world and at the same time to show possibilities of tools and apps that can run in the latest Chrome browser and Android.
Once you enter the app you’ll see a Google Map with cloud magically flying above the surface of the Middle Earth accompanied by Elvish music. You’ll be than able to click on one of the buttons on the map to move to selected place. There are 3 places available right now: Rivendell, Trollshaws and Dol Guldur and three more scheduled to arrive before the film’s premiere. Once you choose a place you’ll hear a narrated story about it. Than you can move forward and play an interactive game linked with the location (I find these games rather week).
It is really cool that they did such a project. But I must say that my user experience with it in not even close to the one when studying paper maps drawn by Tolkien himself… and I’m a little bit disappointed by that. I would expect something more. More features, closer zoom, maybe a story telling at the map level without the need of moving to a selected location… This project was supposed to take you the Middle Earth while showing the possibilities of new Chrome, but in my opinion unfortunately it managed to accomplish only one of the goals. On the other hand why would I expect any digital map of the Middle Earth would be better that the original one…
Pinterest Introduces ‘Place Pins’ And Finally Becomes Geoawesome
Pinterest finally introduced a new type of pin called Place Pins enabling users to “explore” and share the things around them. Place Pins will allow you to map out the locations of all the items you share on your pinboard.
Users can click “add a map” on a new board or in the settings of an existing board to start adding Place Pins. They can then add the pin’s location through a Google-type search bar. Some pins from early Pinterest partners, such as Airbnb and OpenTable, already have the location included. Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann said:
For example, if a user pins a photo of a burger from a local restaurant in her neighborhood, she can also add the restaurant’s location to a map on her board. With these locations, users can better create pinboards for trip planning and highlighting hotspots in their particular neighborhood.
Of course this is a good way to move forward but I would have a once comment… WHY DID IT TAKE THEM SUCH A LONG TIME TO FIGURE OUT THE LOCATION SHOULD BE A KEY FEATURE OF PINTEREST??? No idea.
So why did they finally decided to move into the location-based zone? Just recently Pinterest raised a huge new funding round of $225 million. To justify that investment, which valued the company at $3.8 billion, Pinterest has begun looking for ways to make money off the massive number of user-curated pieces of content that have been collected from around the web. It seems that you cannot monetize such a database if you don’t use the spatial dimension…
Anyway Pinterest – congratulations… you’re now officially Geoawesome!