Man, I am obsessed. But in fairness to myself, these new uses of Google Maps fell into my lap with absolutely no effort on my behalf. 

I found the first two in my inbox via Scoutmob.  The first, Yelp Wordmap, is a new wordsourcing service Yelp provides that shows what I can only describe as "heat spots" (I hate the word "hotspots") of words people use in their reviews; the service ostensibly allows someone looking to avoid hipsters to avoid heat spots  with concentrations of reviews that mention the word "hipster," or if someone is looking for an uncrowded patio he/she might want to find a heat spot of patio concentrations to increase the chances of finding one.

The other use is simpler, but maybe more wonderful. Falling Fruit maps all the known fruit trees in the public domain of urban areas, in order to "facilitate intimate connections between people, food, and the natural organisms growing in our neighborhoods." Totally taking my daughters on a fruit hunt soon.

The other, more literary use was posted to my Facebook wall by Patrick Madden, who is quickly becoming my map-essay hookup, supplier of the good stuff. This time, it's a Google-Mapped adaptation (more of a summary, really) of Steinbeck's Travels with Charley , tracing Steinbeck's (supposedly) nonfiction trip across the US with his beloved French poodle. 

AuthorJohn Proctor