Well the feature is not yet released, but Dave Winer began experimenting with it on Sunday, 23 March 2014.
At first he used a map of NYC, but in the end he settled on a map of Fargo, North Dakota for the inaugural demonstration of the feature, writing "The center is in the heart of Fargo, North Dakota. What does it mean? Not much other than it's a really cool place to name a product after."
I agree with that for a number of reasons. I remember someone in a comment once asked Dave why he picked the name Fargo for this new blogging tool and he said he liked the name because if you turn it around you get "Go Far!" Sorry, I can't give you a link for that right now. But I'm sure that was how it went.
Playing With the Map
Early on Sunday morning when I first discovered this new map feature, I had a lot of fun with it. I discovered I could manipulate the map with my mouse pointer, even while it was still serving as the background to Dave's note. I was sliding the map in various directions and zooming in and out. At one point I noticed Tompkins Square Park in the East Village had appeared on the map and when I zoomed in, I spotted street view was available there. I clicked on it and suddenly the street view image of Tompkins Square Park was the background for Dave's posting, and I could rotate it and move it around too! It was very cool.
Of course when I reloaded the page, the map reappeared, centered as Dave had specified it in his note. At that time he didn't have a link to go from his note to just the map. But in the final version in which he used the Fargo map, he added that.
This is a killer feature for me! When I write about visiting a place in Thailand, I will be able to put the Google map of that place in the background and with one click the reader will be able to go to the map to look around in more detail.
More to Come?
With a live Google map as a background, I couldn't help wondering about other possibilities.
Perhaps Dave could work it out for us to put a YouTube video or a grooveshark song in the background. And then could it play the music as the reader reads the note describing that particular song? I can imagine it, but I have no idea whether it is possible.
Blogging in Fargo with Fargo
I had already been thinking about that. Is there a blogger in Fargo using Fargo yet? Surely Dave needs to present the first who does it with some sort of recognition or prize: a certificate, a plaque, a new fishing rod, or something.
I poked around and found that there are definitely people blogging in Fargo. And there is even local controversy to write about there. Not to mention a (very) fetching woman (and her guy) blogging about the town. I hope she wins the prize! Another woman was blogging there in 2011, in the town she describes as "the most populated city in the 4th least populated state." Ironically her blog was called Like a Fish Out of Fargo, and now she's out of Fargo, having moved herself and the blog to Iowa.
I think the Fargo name is a good one, not just because of Go Far, but because Fargo seems like a small town in a bucolic setting full of ordinary good people, which aligns nicely with the idea that Dave has been developing a tool to make it possible for anyone to blog who wants to, ordinary good people.
This was reinforced when I realized that an independently organized TED event is held there and they once has the founder of the Little Free Library movement talk at it. Now I see that as a perfect metaphor for the growth of Fargo, with these little boxes popping up in neighborhoods all over the country, encouraging the free exchange of information in communities. Much like what the growth of Fargo will do for the free exchange of information on the Internet!
But let's face it. There is competition. Say the word "Fargo" and most people think of the Coen Brothers film of the same name. And now there is even going to be a Fargo television series! But maybe that will not be the only thing people think about for long. I can remember when an Apple was something you ate to keep the doctor away.