ShowStreet, dubbed "Virtual Street Walk", displays actual photos of streets on top of Google Maps, making user feel as if he was virtually walking along the street. The service is now live in New Zealand, and will soon be launched in Australia too. 

Users initially see the customized version of Google Maps where streets of interest are highlighted (blue lines in the picture above). Click on one of the streets, and the actual photos of the selected street will be displayed on the top half of the screen, so that user can see the building facades and shop fronts. User can scroll the photos left and right, and the location marker on the Google Maps move correspondingly. 

Local shops and businesses are tagged with clickable links; Click on the link, and the popup layer displays shop information such as phone number, business hours, and reviews. ShowStreet also allows business owners to add their business information to ShowStreet directly (See video). 

ShowStreet is a product of collaboration between Korea's PlayStreet, which I had covered in this blog earlier, and a New Zealand company called Web Concepts. This creates a great case of a Korean web service getting launched in other countries through partnership. 

Often, internationalization means launching an English version, which many people somehow automatically accept to be the same thing as launching in the US market. But of course the two may not be the same, and launching an English version in a non-US market first may also be a good way to test the waters, potentially with lower costs. With the experiences gained from New Zealand and Australian market under the belt, the PlayStreet/ShowStreet team would hopefully be better prepared to launch a more rock-solid US/global service. 

TAG maps, playstreet, RainD, Showstreet, Web concepts

Korea's Office of National Tax Services (Korean IRS, if you will) announced (link in Korean) it will roll out "fake whiskey detection service" starting from October. The plan is to attach RFID chips that contain production history data to whiskey bottles, so that anyone with a cellphone can use a plug-in scanner (which is to be stored in major bars and pubs) to see if the costly bottle of liquor he is about to order is real or bogus. National Tax Services is rolling this out to make sure they are collecting liquor taxes to the fullest. They are starting with 2 million bottles of whiskey. 


From articles like this, one can incur a few things: 

1. Koreans are some seriously heavy drinkers
2. Despite being the world's 11th economy, Korea apparently has fair amount of fake whiskey 
3. The number of wacky things you can do with your cell phone is only increasing