Thousands of New Yorkers use Google Maps daily to get directions to take a drive upstate for the weekend, or to find out which MTA route will get them to happy hour in Greenpoint the fastest. Adventurous individuals utilize Google Earth to gaze at world wonders, or virtually stroll the streets of far off places they’ve never been and may never get to in their lifetimes. However, Google’s plans are even greater than that, and here are three wondrous examples of its magic in action:
1. Anthropomorphizing mountains.
Google earth has an algorithm that finds faces naturally embedded in Earth’s topography.
2. Inspiring incredible new opportunities for art and film.
Stop-animation short “Address is Approximate” by Director Tom Jenkins uses Google Street View to vivify the touching story of “a lonely desk toy longing for escape from the dark confines of the office, so he takes a cross country road trip to the Pacific Coast in the only way he can—using a toy car and Google Maps Street View.”
3. Reuniting family.
Google Maps made a film based on the true story of Saroo Brierley, an Indian boy who found his family using Google Earth a quarter of a century after he was lost. They were separated at a railway station, and he ended up in an an Indian orphanage where he was subsequently adopted by an Australian family. As an adult, his flashbacks of his town in India impelled him to use Google Earth to explore the area surrounding where he was lost. He eventually traced a path right back to his front door, and to his mother, with a story that made global headlines.