Monday, March 10, 2008

Google Earth and Some More Stats Stuff


I have some friends in France who just bought their first computer some weeks ago. When we saw them in February they were on a very steep learning curve. Readers of this blog and, in particular, blogger friends will not find it difficult to imagine how much there is for these novices of the PC and the Internet to learn about. Everything is new, how to log on, how to navigate, how to find their way around the keyboard even! But to see the joy in their eyes when they very proudly showed emails with pictures from relatives was a great joy to me as well. They had also discovered Google Earth and had had a look at various places, where they lived themselves for instance. Great entertainment!

All of this reminded me that I had had the first version of Google Earth on my old PC, so I decided to download the latest Beta version. And boy was I surprised at how much it had improved. I could hardly believe my eyes when I zoomed in on our house; I could see my car parked in the street, and I am pretty sure the boot was open, which means I had just done some shopping and was at that very moment inside dropping off the first load. There is no mistaking a Nordic Blue (!) car with a sunroof, and the shadow and the rear end looked a bit strange, indicating an open boot. I was speechless! From other features around where we live I figured out that the photo was roughly three years old. I could see people crossing a road, cyclists on the cycle path and various other astonishing details. Talk about Big Brother! Isn’t it scary that these satellites can see you as soon as you set foot outside your front door? What next?

I have also had some tedious fun (can you say that?) checking my visitor stats again, since I am intrigued by how the flipping thing works! All those random hits seem to come approximately 14 minutes after posting (including the time it takes to type in the title and upload two photos), and keep coming for about another four minutes. Checking the referral feature I found out how it works, I think. A visitor from country A is referred by another blog in country B, and if this second blog has no connection with me whatsoever, the country A visitor must have clicked on Next Blog to get to me. Otherwise I cannot see how it works. So I set about to check out all the country B blogs.

I found an Italian visitor referred by an Aberdeen blog, a Mexican visitor referred by a Swedish interior design blog, a Portuguese visitor coming from a Uruguayan blog and a Sri Lankan visitor finding me through a Belgian children’s entertainment blog! How is that for international? Wow! All this only goes to show how widely spread the Internet is these days. Everybody seems to be doing it. You can travel the world from your desk, see all the famous sights, find out about how other people live, share thoughts, ideas and experiences and also make blogger friends. But hey, we must not fool ourselves, although it is a great way, it is a substitute. There is nothing like the real thing, don’t you agree?

9 comments:

Diane Mandy said...

I guess it doesn't compare, but it sure is fun. I was looking at my stats and saw someone who spent 4 hours looking at my site. What could he or she have found so fascinating? And oddly enough, it gave me the creeps.

traveler one said...

Oh yeah Google Earth!! What a coincidence but just today my Dad and I were playing with it. Over a year ago I put an old version of it on his pc and today he showed me the latest version which is AWESOME!! We put a pin on my house in Tirana so he can always find me :)

Eric Valentine said...

Yes that GE is fantastic Swen. I remember the first time I used it, I went all around the places that I had ever been... Lots of fun... Reminds me, it's almost time for another trip.. :)

oreneta said...

Yes of course it is more fun and to go for real...it is more that virtual access is a different opportunity, a different means of accessing the world...another set of options, an extension of our previous abilities. I doubt, and I think the stats will support this, that people travel less or see less of the world because they can connect with more of it on-line...I think instead we are able to make connections that we never otherwise would make...this post/comment being a case in point. It also means that we are able to find like-minded people despite goegraphic location and we are able then to move, with their conncetions, to other realms we hadn't encountered.

Woah, that was long, but you asked...

swenglishexpat said...

Diane - 4 hrs! Not bad; well you never know who might find it interesting. also makes it worth while.
Traveller One - how's that for parental control! ;-) To be serious, lucky it is not live footage!
Eric - What an excellent idea to revisit places!
Oreneta - I agree, I think it only adds to our possibilities, and I did ask. ;-)

Lynda said...

diane mandy - it was probably me - sometimes I get distracted by something and when I come back I find that I have left the same blog open for ages... so maybe it is nothing sinister (just Sometimers setting in at this end)

I looked at google earth to get an idea of where I would be living before moving to Cairo - was shocked to see so many trees, but then when I panned out it was clear where the boundaries of this affluent suburb end... google earth rocks.

I was also interested in your stat report - I know nothing about how the stats work - What do you use to check? I have site meter, but that is as useless as can be.

swenglishexpat said...

Lynda - I use Sitemeter, the basic version. What I have done to trace visitors back, is to check the referring URL. However some come directly typing the address or clicking a link on their own blog, then I can only figure out by checking what is visible in the By Location window. You come up as from Cairo, 3119 km away and you used your Google Reader to navigate to my blog for intance. But if the visitor has been referred by another blog you can see that by mousing over the Referring URL link, and then you can read the whole, long URL at the bottom of your screen, and in there somewhere towards the end you will find the blogspot, or other, address. Et voilá!

CanadianSwiss said...

Google Earth is really cool. I love also looking back to places I've been.

swenglishexpat said...

CS - yeah, long may Google Earth prosper!