Playstreet is a new service that sort of combines the best of Google's street views and Yelp.com. In a nutshell, Playstreet, a Seoul-based startup service, is a local review service on select hot spots. Hotspots in cities are usually represented by streets -- think Paris' Champs-Elysees, New York's 5th Avenue, Los Angeles's Rodeo Drive, or Tokyo's Harajuku Dakeshita Dori. Playstreet displays local review content on those popular streets in a unique way, where street view images are overlayed onto graphical maps, so that it can give users a feeling as if they were actually walking on the particular spot.
Playstreet only focuses on "hot spots", and for Seoul, currently there are 29 hotspots. I think that's plenty.
Select a hotspot, and the default view presented is a graphical map. But notice the map doesn't try to cover everywhere, but specifically focuses on most interesting streets. When mouse is over a blue line on the map (i.e. certain street of interest), it gets highlighted.
Click on the highlighted blue line, and you get a more detailed view for the street. Now you see a mashup of street view (top pane) and the matching graphical map (bottom pane). The two panes are synchronized, so whichever pane you are scrolling in, the other pane gets scrolled at the same time.
Notable places on the street view are tagged; Click on a place tag, and a popup window shows basic information and review content about the place. (There isn't so much of content for the time being, it appears).
It's interesting they are not using Google's street maps (which doesn't support Korea right now anyway), or anything equivalent, but are producing their own version of street images. They say they have a partnership program with colleges, and through that program they can hire college students for a low-cost photo taking. Playstreet says the key reason they have to produce their own images is the needs for more frequent update - in Korea, shops do change all the time. But I'm still wondering if producing the street images in-house is the best approach for them in the long term.
It also remains to be seen if Playstreet will be able to amass enough content, either through crawling or through user generation. At the end of the day, local information sites would be all about content. Having said that, I think this is a quite interesting concept and a brilliantly unique user interface.