The debate about whether Google Book Search is a good thing or a bad thing is a topic that the New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin handles very well, but for those in the latter camp, they likely won’t appreciate Google’s newest invention, which will let people plot on maps references to places they find in books. ItWorldCanada reports that book entries in Google Book Search may include a section called “Places mentioned in this book.” The section includes a map from Google Maps with pins indicating places included in the text. Below the map is a list with the name of the places, linked to the pages in which they are mentioned and an excerpt from the text.
“When our automatic techniques determine that there are a good number of quality locations from a book to show you, you’ll find a map on the ‘About this book’ page,” wrote David Petrou, a Google software engineer, in the official Book Search blog, on Thursday. “We hope this feature helps you plan your next trip, research an area for academic purposes, or visualize the haunts of your favorite fictional characters.” At the moment, you can do that with public domain classics like Jules Verne‘s AROUND THE THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS and Leo Tolstoy‘s WAR AND PEACE. But as expected, Google plans to expand this feature further.