Google has launched a cool new internet thing. And be warned: Your productivity may be about to take a tumble.
Assuming you don’t mind descending down a rabbit hole, you may want to check out Voyager — a “showcase of interactive tours” meant to enhance the latest version of Google Earth.
Voyager, which was introduced Tuesday, allows Earth’s bored employees to feed their wanderlust and pretend they are somewhere — anywhere — other than the office cubicle they are actually sitting in.
Say you’ve never been to Paris. Voyager pairs the view provided by its maps with a still image and a so-called knowledge card to let users hop around the city as though they were on a packed three-day vacation. Similar tours of “Hemingway’s Hangouts,” Frank Gehry buildings and museums around the world are also available.
Want a less urban experience? Jane Goodall will take you on a tour of a Tanzanian park and tell you about her team’s chimpanzee research.
You can even explore Afghanistan with Zari, a 6-year-old Muppet character who hails from the country. Zari loves to read and study — a fortunate trait because, as a knowledge card tells us, “Afghanistan is home to one of the largest populations of young people in the world, but their education system is struggling.”
In a telephone interview on Thursday, Rebecca Moore, director of Google Earth, called stories and storytelling the “linchpin” of the new Google Earth and said Voyager would allow more people to tell such stories in more timely and compelling ways.
“What you’re never going to find in Voyager is, ‘Here’s a tour of homes of celebrities,’” Ms. Moore said. “What we want to do is inspire people to explore the world through this interactive educational experience. We see it as a way…