HubPages Chats With Google Sightseeing

Now that the rigorous judging for HubPages Marks the Spot is over, we had the time to actually chat with our esteemed Judges James & Alex Turnbull from Google Sightseeing – a blog all about discovering the world via Google Maps.  Enjoy our exchange below, where the pair reveal some of their coolest Google Maps discoveries, as well as some thoughts on the contest and Map Capsule 😀

HubPages: What inspired you to start Google Sightseeing?

Google Sightseeing: We were fascinated with the satellite imagery on Google Maps when it was launched in 2005, and we found so many interesting places in the first few hours of browsing that we thought we’d share them. At the time, we had no idea that there would be enough sights to keep us going for the next 5 years! The world it seems, is a much bigger place than we previously thought.

What are some of the coolest sights you’ve shared on the blog?

With over 1,800 posts on the site it’s really hard to choose, however some memorable ones include the 60-metre pink rabbit on a hillside in Italy, the world’s tallest unoccupied building in North Korea, a mysterious abandoned pod city in Taiwan, and the world’s largest graffiti.

How do you think Google Maps has changed the way we live our day-to-day lives?

Google Maps has changed our lives immeasurably – there’s nowhere you can’t look up before you go, no reason to get lost, and nowhere that’s out of reach, at least virtually. Cartography is at the forefront of technology today, and that’s due in part to Google Maps.

What did you enjoy most about the hubs you read for HubPages Marks the Spot?

We’re surprised every single day about the things people find using Google maps, Earth and Street View, and it’s easy to forget how much local and personal knowledge Google’s services don’t provide! All of the hubs gave us a great insight into places that we could never have found out about otherwise.

What kind of location-based hubs (using the new HubPages Map Capsule, which allows hubbers to embed Google Maps into their hubs) would you most like to see?

Personally we’d like to see hubs featuring things you can appreciate without having to visit the location in person – but that’s just us!

What is the coolest (be it useful, silly, creative, or just plain interesting) potential use of the Map Capsule you can think of?

It would be great if the map capsule could expand eventually to provide info directly on the map – clicking markers to reveal content directly related to that thing. An annotated guide like that of an area would be really interesting when filled up with your users’ insights.

If you could immediately teleport to any of the locations or areas that you judged in the contest, which would it be?

We think that would have to be Old Town Temecula! What an amazing place, and a million miles in every way from where we are now.

James&Alex

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Thanks, Alex & James!

An Interview with Outside.in’s Esther Brown

As Week 3 of HubPages Marks the Spot nears its end, we thought it might be fun to catch up with Esther Brown, the Community Manager at Outside.in, our contest sponsor.  Below you’ll find her thoughts on local content- as well as the HubPages contest. Enjoy!

HubPages: First, could you tell us a little about what Outside.in is all about?

Esther Brown: Outside.in is the leading provider of hyperlocal news and information. We provide local audiences with neighborhood news and information from bloggers, journalists and mainstream media on hundreds of trusted news sites. In doing so, we help these local content creators by driving traffic to their sites.

How have you seen the concept of “hyperlocal” (be it related to news, as it is with Outside.in, or reviews, as with Yelp, or location-overviews, as with HubPages Marks the Spot) evolve over the past couple of years?

The first thing that comes to mind for me is the idea of ubiquity. Especially for those interested in media, the term ‘hyperlocal,’ has come to be omnipresent. A few years ago, ‘hyperlocal,’ was on the radar of only a select few companies or individuals. Now, more and more people and businesses understand the concept and opportunity. In the next year or so, I suspect you’ll see another leap for ‘hyperlocal’ as it moves from an exciting vision to a set of profitable best practices.

What kind of location-based articles would you most like to read, personally?

I love food, culture and history, so personally I’d love to see information about food-centric events that are happening around me, or perhaps stories about the people that are making the foods that I love. I love design, too, so I’d also be interested in stories about the history of buildings and places that surround me.

If you were to write an entry for this contest, what would it be?

I’d love to do a profile piece involving a lot of the bloggers I’ve interviewed for our Bloggers We Love series. I’d call it something like ‘Bloggers We Love: Their Favorite Places,’ or “Bloggers We Love: Road Trip” and I’d visit the different cities these bloggers write about and have them take me on a tour of their favorite spots. Like an insider’s guide to the city: curated by local bloggers and aimed at both visitors and locals.

There are tons of great local bloggers out there, and I love to spotlight them and the places they love. All the credit would go to my fabulous tour guides, of course, like Tasha Ball of Tasha Does Tulsa, who knows everything there is to know about what’s good in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Thanks, Esther!

To learn more about Outside.in, visit http://Outside.in or chat with Esther on Twitter via @Outsidein and @BloggersWeLove. You can also read more about Outside.in’s ‘Bloggers We Love,’ series on their company blog: http://blog.outside.in. To connect with Esther, follow her on Twitter via @estheribrown or @YallHungary.