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Google's maps will find you the shortest route from point A to point B. Now, Yahoo is working to provide Internet users with the most beautiful walking routes through London. Using the crowd sourcing website UrbanGems, programmers have determined which routes are the most emotionally pleasing by asking users to choose between two possible images that represent different possible paths. "That gives the team a[n]...opinion about the beauty of each location. They then plot each of these locations and their beauty score on a map which they use to provide directions."

What's the Big Idea?

London natives hired to walk the routes confirmed that the computer suggestions were aesthetically preferable. And on average, the routes were just 12 percent longer than the quickest routes. Of course relying on individuals to determine which routes are the best is time consuming and can be costly. So Yahoo is turning to Flickr, searching for indicators of beauty "like the number of pictures taken of a particular scene and comments associated with positive emotions." Observers say city officials could use the system to encourage tourism, providing do-it-yourself tours of the famous world cities.

Read more at Technology Review

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