Internet time: The announcement today of A9’s new feature that allows the user to access “yellow pages”-like information and then, metaphorically speaking, walk down the street and see photos of the store and other stores along the street immediately reminded me of one of the first “ah-ha” moments I ever had regarding what we used to call back then, “hypermedia.” The 1978 Aspen Movie Map, according to the Wikipedia entry about it, ” allowed the user to take a virtual tour through the city of Aspen, Colorado. This was accomplished with the use of four video cameras, which were pointed in different directions and took video footage while mounted on the back of a truck through the streets of Aspen.” Anyone who saw a demo of that project was, like me, in awe. Everytime I see a videogame, I think back to that demo.
As you can see from this promotional video about the A9 feature (the feature is available in 10 cities now), the method Amazon.com used is nearly identical…and just think, it only took 27 years to pull off.
Update: John Battelle explains the new feature in a story for Business 2.0.