Tag: Travel 2.0

Google Unveils City Tours, Comes One Step Closer to World Domination

Look out, guidebook publishers—Google is coming for you. The all-new Google City Tours provides users with suggested urban itineraries and then allows for customization from there. The Guardian’s Benji Lanyado takes it for a test drive.

Signs of Shrinking Vacation Syndrome on Capitol Hill

Even our elected representatives aren’t immune—and at least one of them isn’t happy about it. Senator Chuck Grassley told President Obama how he feels in a colorful tweet on Sunday:

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Virtual Travel: Is There More to it Than ‘Staring at Our Own Roofs’?

In the Independent, Clare Rudebeck takes a look at how far “virtual travel” options have come since we all first used Google Earth to check out our own homes a few years back—and ponders their limitations, too.

“In the last two months, technology titans from Google to IBM have put in a concerted effort to convince us that there is more to virtual travel than staring at our own roofs. And they’re spending a lot of money in the attempt,” she writes. “...but can exploring the virtual world really give us the same sense of wonder, fulfilment and utter exasperation that real tourism delivers? What is travel without lost baggage, stomach bugs and hours spent trying to work out how to use your camera?”

Earthrise: ‘How a Picture Transformed Our View of Ourselves’

On the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 8 launch, the Guardian offers this thoughtful essay about the mission, its accomplishments and the iconic photograph (pictured) shot by its NASA crew. “Certainly, Earthrise is a striking reminder of Earth’s vulnerability,” Robin McKie writes. “We may have forgotten the men who risked their lives getting to the Moon and who explored its dead landscape—a ‘beat-up’ world as they put it—but the view they brought back of that glittering blue hemisphere continues to mesmerise.”

National Geographic’s ‘Herod’s Lost Tomb,’ FTW

That’s “For The Win,” to all you non-gamers out there, and yes, the revered publication is launching a games division, with downloadable titles that can be played on Macs, PCs, and some mobile devices. ‘Herod’ could be cool, but frankly, I’m holding out for “Sudoku Traveler: China.” 

‘There’s Something Romantic About City Bloggers’

That’s how Benji Lanyado kicks off his guide to the best in home-grown city blogs in the Guardian. He goes on: “Even in the world’s most media-saturated cities—where there are thousands of pages of listings, tips and reviews—there are hundreds of bedroom bloggers doing it for themselves. Often nobody is telling them what to write or paying them for their time, which makes for some of the most original content online.”

Google Earth Goes Mobile

Google Earth Goes Mobile Photo by .schill via Flickr, (Creative Commons).
Photo by .schill via Flickr, (Creative Commons).

We’ve already noted that the program is “positively pregnant with potential for travelers”—and now, it’s portable, too. The Wired blog has the lowdown on Google Earth’s new iPhone app: “The iPhone niceties you’d expect are here. Pinch to zoom, twist to, well, spin the map.”

Have $100K to Spend? Take a Ride on Space Tourism’s New Oddity

Have $100K to Spend? Take a Ride on Space Tourism’s New Oddity Photo by Aaron Escobar via Flickr (Creative Commons).
Photo by Aaron Escobar via Flickr (Creative Commons).

A plan has been unveiled for a “fishbowl”-like suborbital space shuttle that will offer 360-degree views of space. The vehicle can carry two passengers, and may be flying as soon as 2010. Worth noting: the shuttles look like giant outer space moon bounces—completely awesome.

How To ‘Visit Your Dog’s Ancestral Home’

Great travel idea for pooch lovers from Jean Tang at Budget Travel.

U.S. Government Twitters for Travelers

We were pretty impressed after learning that the State Department had embraced using Twitter and its pithy 140-character messages to issue travel warnings. Now it appears the trend is spreading among U.S. government agencies. The Silicon Alley Insider gives seven U.S. government agencies props for employing Twitter as a way to disseminate information quickly.

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The Virtual Forbidden City: Eunuchs, Courtesans and More

Armchair travelers, gamers and the merely curious can now explore China’s famed Forbidden City via a virtual 3-D recreation of the Chinese landmark. Forbidden City: Beyond Space & Time is an interactive animated experience developed by IBM that allows users to adopt avatars and explore the city, interacting with other users while participating in activities like training fighting crickets, dressing up like a eunuch or practicing archery with a courtesan.

Related on World Hum:
* In Beijing: A Rainbow of Nations

Photo by jimg944 via Flickr (Creative Commons).

State Department Travel Advisories Now Available on Twitter

You go, State Department, with your shiny new Twitter account. Very handy. So what does a State Department “tweet” look like? “This Travel Warning is being issued ... to the unstable social and security situation in Bolivia.” Poetry. For those keeping score, World Hum is also representing. (Via L.A. Times)

Around the World to See How the World Uses Mobile Phones

Some of the interesting tidbits turned up by Cyriac Roeding during a six-week spin around the world to observe mobile phone usage: In South African airports, travelers are offered chances to sign up for sweepstakes via text message. In Nepal, people are wild for ring tones. In India, you can charge your phone at stations along the Ganges River.

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American Adding Internet Service to More Cross-Country Flights

Fifteen additional planes will offer wireless Internet service for laptops and PDAs beginning today for $12.95. Reports USA Today: “If the service is deemed successful after three to six months, American Airlines plans to roll out the service to the rest of its domestic fleet.” Yes, slowly but surely, airline by airline, plane by plane, we’re moving closer to a day when the sky is one big, happy internet cafe.

Delta to Offer WiFi on Domestic Flights

The service—for about $10—will begin on some flights next month and will be extended across the airline’s domestic fleet by next summer. Reports the Washington Post, “Delta appears to be the first U.S. airline to commit its entire fleet” to the technology. Go Delta. Now how about bringing back in-flight poetry?

England to World: We’re Funny!

It’s true. Even the country’s latest motto is funny (“No Motto Please, We’re British.”). So it makes sense the country is turning to its most comedic citizens and “funny spots” to promote travel.

iPod, iPhone Plug-ins Coming to International United Flights

In first and business classes, you’ll be able to charge the devices and watch videos on your in-flight entertainment screen, the airline announced. The first flight with the service—Washington, D.C., to Zurich—departed yesterday; the technology will be rolled out to other wide-body jets over the next two years. You still won’t be able to make calls.

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Will WiFi Go Truly Global?

Sure, WiFi has arrived in airport lounges, hotel lobbies, and on some buses, but for the bandwidth-hungry traveler, there are still plenty of “those pesky dead zones between hotspots,” observes the Globe and Mail’s Denise Deveau. But she points out a couple of newer technologies that could see wireless networking capabilities expand dramatically—think rural areas and even oceans. Wireless internet access may not have the romance of poste restante, or the quirky charm of your local internet cafe, but it certainly makes for a shrinking planet.

Photo by hive via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Are New York’s Skyscrapers Outdated?

Photo by matt semel via Flickr (Creative Commons).

That’s the argument this Der Spiegel piece makes, pondering the architectural clash of civilizations between East and West. I, for one, can live without a Burj Dubai in the middle of Manhattan.

Crowdsourcing and GPS in Remote Namibia

Interesting example of how user-generated info and hand-held GPS devices are changing travel.