The E-Sylum:  Volume 8, Number 5, January 30, 2005, Article 16


Those of us who research tokens or paper money
spend a lot of time looking through old city directories
searching for addresses and other information relating
to their issuers. Sometimes we come across a real
treat - an illustration of the issuer's place of business
within an advertisement. Wouldn't it be great if we
could find illustrations of every business we looked up?
Well, researchers of the future may have that ability.

Amazon this week announced a new feature, a local
yellow-pages listing that displays photos of
neighborhood businesses.

>From the New York Times:
"With the service, Amazon joins Yahoo, Google and many
other companies in offering the electronic equivalent of the
yellow pages. But the Amazon service, developed by its
search-focused subsidiary A9, adds a novel twist: 20 million
photos of buildings in 10 major United States cities, with
more on the way.

To achieve this, A9 sent out a sport utility vehicle equipped
with a digital video camera. In Manhattan, for example, a
driver spent more than a week cruising down streets,
capturing images and cataloging the location of each
business using a global positioning system receiver. "

"The printed yellow pages have been around for 100 years,
and they haven't changed much," Mr. Dorfman said. "This
is a way of taking it to the next level."

"Initially, the local search service will offer photos from
Manhattan, Chicago, Dallas, Boston, Seattle, San Francisco,
Los Angeles, Atlanta, Portland and Denver. The search
results will have related advertisements provided by Google."

To read the full article, see: Full Story

Wouldn't it be great to look up photos of the storefronts
of the great numismatic dealers of the past? For fun, I looked
up coin dealers in Manhattan. It didn't take long to realize 
that the accuracy of the GPS system, as impressive as it is, 
delivers far from pinpoint accuracy. More often than not I ended up
looking at a boarded-up storefront or the convenience store
down the street instead of what I was hoping to find. But the
saving grace of the system is the ability to pan left and 
right for alternate views of the screetscape. The entry for Stack's
shows a building a few doors down to the right. But using the
"Walk left" button I was able to find Stack's a few doors
away. Here's a link to the initial page - use "Walk left" or
the left arrow button to find Stack's about six images away:
More Info

Those arrow buttons are very useful - you can take a walking
tour of the city from the comfort of your desk. I found the
entry for the Lord & Taylor department store, which I
remembered being on Fifth Avenue. Then using the right arrow
key, I "walked" up Fifth Avenue, past the New York Public
Library and continued for several blocks. Before my next
trip to New York I'll locate my hotel and take a "walk" around
the area to show my kids where I'll be staying.

As an exercise for the readers, who can find us some
images of other coin dealerships? I poked around, but
without much luck. And is anyone else a little disturbed to
know that a passing truck could secretly photograph you
and post your image on the internet for all to see? A public
street is in the public domain, and no one should have any
expectations of privacy, but I'm sure glad the truck didn't
drive by on my last visit to Stack's and catch me scratching
my posterior while deciding where to go for lunch afterwards.
I wouldn't be surprised if these yellow pages images end
up being featured in a Law & Order episode, allowing the
cops to confirm (or demolish) someone's alibi. Welcome
to the 21st century, like it or not....

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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