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Yesterday we wrote about the Swiss trains Google Maps mashup and how cool it is. Today I have another mashup that will challenge you and might push you to swear out loud. The site is named placeSpotting and creates so-called "Riddles" using Google Maps. It’s like a real world Carmen Sandiago.
Here’s how it works. They have found certain spots around the world using Google Maps and they lock the map onto that particular location. The bottom panel has a moveable and zoomable map where you try to find the exact same spot — not close, but exact, the zoom, the absolute exact spot. You can create riddles as well. There is a search which lets you decide where the riddles should be based, voting score along with the difficulty level for the riddle.
To help you find the answers, the riddles come with 2-3 hints but let’s just say that they don’t really help that much. I’ve played several riddles over the course of an hour and didn’t get very far. While it is a hair-pulling game, I found it to be a lot of fun, almost like a hunt.
I spoke with founder Martin Fussen about the site and he shared that there are 3600 riddles in the system and approximately 11% of users who start a riddle actually find the answer. The service is based in Switzerland and has English and German language versions.
Give it a try and see if you can solve the world’s location riddles, I plan to try again later today. Here’s a short video on how the game works:
Rob Hof at BusinessWeek is reporting that Jotspot will be relaunching tonight as "Google Sites" as part of the Apps Premier Edition offering a free version and a $50/year per user with a SLA. The Google Sites site is available now. Google acquired JotSpot in late 2006 and has basically been idling as of late. Currently the Sites login page is only allowing @jotspot.com email addresses access into the system.
Google describes Google Sites as, "Create a single place to bring together all the information your team needs to share, including docs, videos, photos, calendars and attachments." It looks like these tools are meant for internal team use.
Hof believes this is a hit against Microsoft Sharepoint or IBM’s Lotus Notes. Not really a fair comparison as both of these offerings are much more robust. However, could this be a direct attack at pbWiki which is widely used for team and internal wikis? And for the sharing functions for rich media, is it an attack against the white label social networking providers including KickApps, Ning, Magnify, etc?
Rex Hammock hopes that Google Sites helps people "get" wikis. I hope people never get caught up on lingo – as long as it does what they need it to, who cares what it’s called. Rafe Needleman has some good screenshots and discussion on how Google Sites fits into the overall Google office suite.
Hof notes that company personnel may push the use of Google Sites outside of IT department approval and by the time IT gets involved, it will be too late and they will be forced to use the tool. I disagree with this but today IT has to be more proactive with forward-moving technologies than they ever have been before. The days of an AS/400 sitting in the closet are over.