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Google Punks Web With Victorian Ghost Hoax on Street View

We've seen all sorts of strange and interesting things on Google StreetView, from X to Y. But when the Telegraph reported that StreetView spied this unexplained, ghostly pedestrian decked out in Victorian-era clothing, people began to wonder if there was something paranormal afoot. After all, the Cardiff, Wales docklands where the woman was spotted has a long history of murders and other mysteries. As it turns out, the Telegraph's Sarah Knapton may have let her imagination run away a bit. Apparently, the apparition is none other than Mary Poppins, making this just one in a new batch of StreetView pranks organized by Google to promote its 360-degree street-mapping service.

If you look around carefully, you can find Paddington Bear waving on London's Portobello Road, Sherlock Holmes loosed in Oxford, and the famous Beefeater doing a little shopping at a London department store. Perhaps the Google folks got the inspiration for such shenanigans from Ben Kinsley and Robin Hewlett, two Pittsburgh-based artists who staged a series of outlandish scenes for the passing StreetView team back in May, 2008.

We're glad that Google has a sense of humor, since StreetView has been highly criticized as an invasion of privacy. Maybe the company is hoping that a few good-natured pranks will prove its 'non-evilness' to the service's paranoid detractors.


Death of Print

    Elle Girl
    In April 2006, Elle Girl's print edition was closed down, but the Web site lives on at ellegirl.com.

    CosmoGirl
    Though it will be folded into Seventeen magazine, the teen version of Cosmopolitan will publish its last print issue in December 2008. It will live on at CosmoGirl.com.

    Christian Science Monitor
    Founded in 1908 by Mary Baker Eddy, this venerable paper will move all its daily content to the Web starting in 2009, though it will still publish a weekly print version.

    Radar Magazine
    Was it too snarky for its own good? We'll never know, but this modern-day successor to '80s-era Spy magazine shut down in October. AMI, owner of the National Enquirer, bought RadarOnline.com, however, which will focus on celebrity gossip a la TMZ.com.

    US News and World Report
    Once a serious competitor to Time and Newsweek, US News and World Report is now best known for its College guides, which it will continue to publish. The weekly newsmagazine, however, will be turned into a monthly, and all daily operations are moving to the Web at usnews.com.


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Tags: funny, google street view, GoogleStreetView, pranks

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