We’ve just found a great time-wasting site for digital travelers and fans of Google Street View…it’s called Globe Genie.
Using the site, users can be transported to random places around the globe where Google Street View is available. It’s all about discovering new places, so users aren’t actually able to specify a location. Instead you just sit back and let the genie find new places for you. Users can however choose which regions they’d like to filter; Asia, North America, Africa, Australia and Europe.
My first trip landed me in a neighbourhood somewhere in Japan, a place I likely would have never seen. One of the cooler features enables a user to send out the coordinates of a location to Twitter / Facebook so places you find can be shared with friends.
The project was created by Joe McMichael, an MIT student who told me he created Globe Genie for fun as a side project during his breaks between class. McMichael said “As a child I would spin a globe and randomly place my finger somewhere, imagining what it would be like to live there. It occurred to me that with Google Street View, this is now possible. We’ve all seen pictures of famous landmarks around the world. Virtually teleporting to a random spot gives you the chance to discover hidden landscapes that you would never know to look for otherwise.”
McMichael clarified that Globe Genie works by “generating random latitude and longitude coordinates within several pre-specified regions that have Street View imagery. It then queries Google’s servers to determine whether the point is valid. If not, it repeats this process until it finds a valid location…As more countries are added, the service will become faster and more diverse “
Overall, I found myself quickly sucked into its serendipitous nature, and luckily, updates will continue to be implemented.