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This article reviews the motivations, approaches, and accomplishments in applying genus loci - the sense of place - to advance Google's mission to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. Delivering information in a meaningful spatial context has proven an ambitious undertaking. Ideas from philosophy, psychology, and sociology shaped the design, and technical and logistical challenges abounded in the implementation. For this project, the Google geospatial team wove long-standing wisdom, fresh technical thinking, and their vision of the future to create a global information landscape where people experience a uniquely real understanding of the answers to their questions. That the work is used millions of times per hour shows the result to be useful.
Date of Publication: July-Aug. 2007