A Yahoo Lab is closing in on a maps app that would show you the most beautiful path from point A to point B, Wired reports. Two Yahoo researchers and one University of Torino researcher used crowdsourced data to determine which routes are the most “emotionally pleasant,” they wrote in a paper published last week.
The project, based in Barcelona, began by showing pictures of streets in London to people, asking them to choose which ones seemed the “most beautiful, quiet, and happy.” The researchers then compiled routes through the city only using the more highly rated sites. What they found were paths that users agreed were truly more enjoyable to traverse. Interestingly, adding a little beauty to a route usually only tacked on a few minutes of travel time.
To put a Yahoo spin on the project, the researchers also used data from Yahoo’s photo-sharing website Flickr. They mapped out paths through London and Boston according to which locations were photographed most, Wired says. Testers in Boston overwhelmingly preferred the pretty routes to faster ones.
While most map tech seems to focus on speed and efficiency, this might be the trick to make Yahoo Maps appealing. And while Android phones come preloaded with Google Maps, and iPhones start out with Apple’s equivalent, it isn’t inconceivable for Yahoo to break into the map app world if it can promise happiness along with directions. The iOS software already uses Yahoo’s weather and sport information for its native apps, and could look to Yahoo for more in the future.
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