Prose colored glasses

One Google engineer is viewing the world via a new lens: books. Not atlases, per se, but all books. As posted over on the Google BookSearch blog, he built a little app to scour every book in the Google database and pinpoint every geographic location mentioned.

The results are pretty cool and historically telling, as he lines it up by decade. The color intensity of the pinpoint indicates how frequently it’s mentioned in books over the past 200 years.

I keep going back and forth on the whole “Google digitizing every book” debate. But I think this is a pretty cool use of the data. It seems the older I get, the cooler nerds get. Or maybe they’ve always been cool?

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