Ever thought about how funny mountains are? They’re hill areas.
August 8, 2019 3:34 PM   Subscribe

Over the years, a lot has changed in Geoguessr, the Google Street View game where you're dropped somewhere on the planet and have to deduce where you are. (Introduced here on MeFi in 2013.) The social aspect of the game has improved, with timed challenges and player generated maps. The image quality and reach of Google Street View has also improved: zooming in can now reveal significant details. Of course, it wouldn't be 2019 without a healthy dose of live streaming for your entertainment pleasure. Yes, you too can now watch Geoguessr superstars on Twitch take their sweet, methodical time hunting for that perfect 25,000 score. However, there are some dark clouds on the horizon, so you may want to get your game on soon.

The dark clouds have to do with the long-term sustainability of the site. You might find the ads for free play obtrusive, but it's partially due to Google's restructuring of the payment plan for the Google Maps API. High volume sites such as Geoguessr are feeling the pinch of increased costs and looking for ways to offset them and continue to operate.

Also, improved technology cuts both ways: you might be getting higher res photos, but Google automatically blurs faces and some text, as well as allowing individuals to request blurring, an improvement for privacy, but a blow for a game that relies on details such as identifying passerby ethnicity and road signs.
posted by jeremias (17 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
jeremais, that title made me wince so hard my face has a cramp now. Good job.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 3:58 PM on August 8, 2019 [12 favorites]

Ever thought about how funny mountains are? They’re hill areas.


posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 4:34 PM on August 8, 2019 [9 favorites]

This should be used in Law & Order....cops hot on the trail of a serial killer find a cellphone in a creepy van and upload a pic into a Geoguesser website to crowd source the police work. RIPPED FROM THE HEADLINES
posted by ian1977 at 4:36 PM on August 8, 2019 [3 favorites]

I enjoyed playing it when it was posted before, but now it does not seem to agree with my adblocker, unfortunately.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:45 PM on August 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

Mountains? More like nothings!
posted by tobascodagama at 5:20 PM on August 8, 2019 [3 favorites]

One of my favorite ways to kill time at work.
posted by kevinbelt at 5:48 PM on August 8, 2019

i like Geoguessr, but what are the -rules-? like, can you click to move on down a road until you hit a street sign?
posted by Pastor of Muppets at 5:56 PM on August 8, 2019

Gah! That title!

He who would pun would pick a pocket...
posted by Fuchsoid at 6:20 PM on August 8, 2019

I am going to can a little side project I did because the 4,000 map views it generated cost me $20.
posted by maxwelton at 7:41 PM on August 8, 2019

I am an old man, so I know what I'm talking about, right? The title pun is one of the greatest I've ever seen. It gets enshrined next to the Bazooka Joe Bubble Gum Comics immortal "What time is your dental appointment?" "Tooth-hurty".
posted by Chitownfats at 8:52 PM on August 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

I used to play Geoguessr a long time ago (I must've learned about it here!), but the time limits (whether in head-to-head competition or a daily challenge) make it much more interesting; there's something a little too free-form in just being able to meander forever. I also really like the custom maps; A Diverse World has a lot of variety while mitigating the sameness of the random maps that spend a lot of time putting you in The Middle Of Nowhere, Russia / Canada / USA / Australia.
posted by Jeanne at 9:41 PM on August 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

@maxwelton would openstreetmap.org help?
posted by my-username at 3:21 AM on August 9, 2019

Just found out about this game because this guy on Youtube is posting a series where he attempts to travel across Wales in an absolute straight line, through hedges, woods, and bodies of water. But his main thing on Youtube is apparently Geoguessr... I ended up watching some of them and he's somehow really good.

For guessing US states he has a way of analyzing the colors in blurred out license plates. But he also just has an uncanny intuition about what part of the world something is by the general look of the image.
posted by thefool at 4:24 AM on August 9, 2019

But his main thing on Youtube is apparently Geoguessr... I ended up watching some of them and he's somehow really good. How?

Elite Geoguessrs get that way through a lot of repetition play, and having an encyclopedic knowledge of things like foliage, how different countries paint their road lines and the Cyrillic alphabet. Extreme patience and having a great memory obviously helps. These are some of the tips I've found along the way.
  • From a pure UI perspective, not everyone realizes that you can "zoom" ahead by clicking near the horizon instead of using the white arrows one step at a time. This technique really helps you advance down a long road.
  • In the lower left corner is a compass, the red arrow always points North. One way this helps is to figure out whether the sun is in the Northern or Southern hemisphere. Using the compass as a guide, look for the end of shadows (trees, signs, buildings, etc.) If the end of a shadow is pointing south then you are likely in the Southern hemisphere and if a shadow tip points north then you are probably in the Northern hemisphere. This also works with satellite dishes! If it's pointing south then you are likely in the Northern Hemisphere and vice versa. (Of course if you're near the equator, sorry! Actually it probably means you're in Brazil.)
  • In foreign cities I like to look for the country code domains on advertisements or store signs. Of course I don't always know them, but I suspect the pros have them memorized.
  • The Cyrillic alphabet thing. I try to find the "special characters" on the city signs or advertisements and do a crude version of pattern matching with the city/country names on my map. For example if I see a "č", and an "š" in a sign I'll zoom into my map and look around for city names that use the same characters, that can often narrow down which country I'm in (Boom! Lithuania). It's not foolproof, but it really helps narrow things down.
I've personally gotten a bit addicted to making maps, and that process has helped me a lot as a player.
posted by jeremias at 5:25 AM on August 9, 2019 [5 favorites]

I had fun playing this a little while back. The best one I got landed me in front of a statue of Confucius. Great, I know I'm in China. Lots of Chinese people, signs all in Chinese. But wait. China doesn't have street view. It took a minute to realise I was in Chinatown in Chicago.

Some top tips:
- Street signs have lots of double letters? Probably Finland
- Image quality is terrible? It's America
- Signs in Cyrillic? If you get within 1000km you did ok
- Signs have the letters "cz" or "sz" or lots of diacritic letters? Probably Poland
- Locals are dark-skinned? Probably South Africa, I don't think any other African nation has street view
- Look out for small business vans, they often have the address on the side. But they might be a way from home
- Buses have place names on the front of them a lot of the time; bus stops are even better
- Have a job in shipping for several years and waste far too much time looking at Google Maps
posted by Acey at 7:35 AM on August 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

Actually I lied - the best one I got landed me right near where I grew up. Like, I look left, see the sign "Castle Lane, leading to Calshot Drive" and know immediately where I am with pinpoint precision. And that was the World challenge. That was just... weird.
posted by Acey at 7:42 AM on August 9, 2019 [4 favorites]

In this house we play Geoguessr with only rotation and zooming allowed. If you get over 10,000 points, you win.
posted by tss at 5:05 PM on August 9, 2019

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