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Israel is About to Get Google Mapped So Hard

Where: Israel
March 7, 2011 at 4:36 PM | by | Comments (0)

Israel is finally set to allow Google to map out the country's roads using Google Maps Street View, which is something of a bold move since terrorists routinely brag about using Google Earth to target their missiles and rockets at Israelis. Since we're talking about the Middle East, the decision has naturally engendered a robust debate about costs and benefits. On the costs side: the terrorism and people dying thing. Supposedly on the benefits side: tourism.

We're not really going to belabor the security issue, partly because it's convoluted but mostly because it's way, way too depressing for a Monday morning. You can go here for a will-it or won't-it backgrounder. The tourism debate, on the other hand, seems a little bit more straightforward and a little closer to our wheelhouse.

As far as that goes, we've got a simple question: has anyone ever not taken a trip to Israel because they weren't sure there'd be interesting stuff to see? Are people out there scratching their heads going "hey, it's called 'The Holy Land' and it's looked to by three major religions totaling half the earth's population, plus it's got castles dating back to the Crusades, ruins dating back to Rome and Greece, and cities dating back to before the Bible... but I just don't know. Maybe if the Israelis were known for producing smoking hot supermodel after smoking hot supermodel, then I could decide." Is that happening anywhere?

No, of course this won't boost Israel's tourism very much. It's another new media tourism trick in a long line of ones about which we've been skeptical. There might be good reasons for allowing Google Street View—what the international marketing people call "nation branding" is as good as any—but tourism isn't one of them.

That is, unless Bar Refaeli and Esti Ginzburg are actually in the street shots, in which case exactly the opposite of what we just said. And actually, why aren't those two in every travel ad Israel produces anyway? No other details, just those two, and the word "Israel" in big letters underneath. It would probably work better than Street View, not that we're experts about these things or anything.

[Photo: Shmuliko / Wiki Commons]

Related Stories:
· Israel: Google Street View Will Be “Good For Tourism & Image” [Search Engine Land]
· Israel Travel [Jaunted]
· Religious Travel [Jaunted]

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