Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Localizing the globe

You have probably seen this at the beginning of a movie:

I am always caught by surprise when the globe stops spinning, expecting to go further. Watching it closely, I realized why: it stops at the Americas. I grew up in Hong Kong, where world maps look like this:

What's special about it? The center of the map is the Pacific Ocean. In my mind, that is the focal point of the globe, so I felt unsatisfied when the Universal globe stops spinning at the Americas.

I found it ironic that the globe, being the obvious icon for a global society, is actually usually localized. And today I found a delightful case of a localized globe - the notification icon in the top right corner of Facebook:

I never paid much attention to it, but my friend Corey is visiting Sweden, and noticed that her icon changed from showing the Americas:

To Europe, Africa and Asia:

Very subtle, but very cool!

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