By Josh Miller
Google Space, installed in 2005 in London’s Heathrow Airport, originally started out as a group of 10 Samsung laptops in the public lounge of terminal one. It has since grown into a large stand with numerous computers and laptops that is staffed by at least two Google employees every day (Donoghue, 2005). This application is extremely helpful to all travellers because it allows them to make use of otherwise “wasted” time. Many travellers either sit reading a book, watching a movie, or listening to music while waiting for their flight. 50% of the British passengers that were once surveyed said they had nothing better to do in airport terminals than eat, drink and shop. However, 71% of respondents stated that they would like to use this time to find out more about their destination. The top five things people want to find out are:
1. A map of their destination (73%)
2. Weather forecast for the destination (68%)
3. Which tourist traps to avoid (64%)
4. A guide of famous sites and landmarks (61%)
5. Information on how to get to the city centre (54%)
With Google Space, users can open a Google Earth browser (for free) and see a 3-D representation of their destination with real satellite images in order to see exactly where they will be staying (Google Inc., 2010). There are various weather layers and KML’s that allow users to see radar images of their destination and observe weather patterns, temperature changes and predicted temperatures, and learn about the weather for where they are visiting. With Google Space, Google Local can be used to learn about and find famous sites at the destination and get information on sites such as monuments or museums and obtain the addresses of these places. Google Local can also be utilized to obtain addresses and phone numbers of whatever restaurants, hotels, or businesses that travellers want to learn about, which can then also be plugged into Google Earth to get a better feel for where their desired location is, how to get there, and learn more about the area. The layers discussed on the Google Earth Layers pages can also be helpful to find addresses of desired locations and visualize these areas on the virtual globe.
Donoghue, A. (2005, November 24). Google turns Heathrow into testing lab. ZDNet. Retrieved from http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/it-strategy/2005/11/24/google-turns-heathrow-into-testing-lab-39237536/.
Geelan, J. (2005, November 23). Google Space Launches at Heathrow Airport. SYS Media. Retrieved from http://search.sys-con.com/node/156931.
Google Inc. (2010). Google Space. Retrieved from http://www.google.co.uk/googlespace/.
Ku, A. (2005, December 15). In the material world. The Official Google Blog. Retrieved from http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2005/12/in-material-world.html.