Investors and Google fans may not agree on whether Google
The Summer of Green is the Web's latest "mashup," a combination of information drawn from two or more different Web services -- for example, flagging a Yahoo!
This past spring, Time Warner's
Google's eco-friendly mashup follows another popular trend at the moment: being green. It may not be easy, according to Kermit the Frog, but these days it seems to be getting easier all the time. Wired magazine's May issue featured cover boy Al Gore and a series of articles on the going-green trend; a story in yesterday's New York Times story mentioned eco-friendly and cost-cutting business initiatives like those from Timberland
Google's Summer of Green is apparently the search giant's first self-created mashup, providing travelers with environmental information and Google maps for Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, and San Francisco. This is no half-hearted charity case; Google's put together a feature-rich application that's ripe with advertising opportunities. As I played around with it, I found that clicking on the cities' eco-friendly spots launched pop-ups with descriptions of the featured activities and services -- and in some cases, video promotions -- with options to access directions. The featured maps also included other related maps and mashups, such as public transit maps for the cities. (In another nod to green alternatives, the Transit Trip Planner has been bubbling in Google Labs since December.)
Many of us may doubt whether Google's a solid investment at its current stock price. Others may wonder about Google's ability to avoid being evil, as epitomized by the debate over its policies in China. However, given some products like the Summer of Green, and the company's ability to target some of the hottest trends around, it's pretty hard to argue that Google's not cool.
Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.