Google Maps flags up celebs' favourite haunts

LONDON - Google Maps has launched an international initiative across several cities including London and New York, highlighting venues such as restaurants and clubs recommended by celebrities.

Dubbed 'My Favorite Places', the London version includes recommendations from former mayor Ken Livingstone, novelist Sarah Waters, founder Martha Lane Fox, comedian, writer and broadcaster Mark Thomas, and Madness frontman Suggs.

Users searching within London on Google Maps are able to click on a 'Featured Favourite Places' section on the left hand side of the webpage. This opens a column of celebrity names.

Clicking on a name brings up a series of virtual pins denoting the locations of that celebrity's favourite places.

By clicking on a particular location, users can then read a brief description of their recommended venue.

For example, Livingstone endorses a number of places including London Zoo and restaurant El Parador. Lane Fox endorses The Serpentine Gallery and Dover Street Market, and Thomas recommends the Tooting Bec Lido and the Thames Footpath.

Several of the London celebrity endorsements originally appeared in Time Out magazine.

In the US, New York City's marketing and partnership agency NYC&Company has launched a campaign supporting Google's new venture.

The agency is running outdoor advertising at sites including bus shelters and street pole banners, which sport decals of Google Maps with map pins pinpointing venues such as galleries, restaurants and bars.

The 'Favourite Places' scheme has also launched in, San Francisco, Paris, Moscow, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Madrid and Prague.

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