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Google powers new NYC information hub

The city has renovated its official visitors' center to feature touch-screen Google Maps displays, and has also launched a new Web site in conjunction.

Google Maps and Google Earth are the centerpiece of NYCGo, a new information and reference project launched by the New York City government to provide resources to both visitors and locals. Wednesday's launch announced the debut of, a Google Maps-fueled local search and reference site, as well as the unveiling of the renovated New York City Information Center a few blocks north of the tourist-heavy Times Square district. contains not just Google map and search data, but also travel deals from Travelocity and local content from what-to-do powerhouse Time Out New York, nightlife culture magazine Paper, the New York Observer, and eco-living guide Greenopia.

The information center, located on Seventh Avenue between 52nd and 53rd streets, is equally Googly. The city's technocratic mayor, Michael Bloomberg, even contributed a guest post to the official Google blog to announce it: "The Information Center features interactive map tables, powered by the Google Maps API for Flash, that let you navigate venues and attractions as well as create personalized itineraries, which can be printed, emailed or sent to mobile devices," the blog post explained. "Additionally, there's a gigantic video wall that utilizes Google Earth to display a 3D model of New York City on which you can map out personalized itineraries."

Bloomberg has been aggressive about promoting tech initiatives during his time in office, from a wind power plan (part of the much bigger "GreeNYC" project) and a city-run venture firm. Under his watch, the Mountain View, Calif.-based Google opened its New York satellite office, taking over several floors of the historic former Port Authority building downtown.

A side note: the video provided by Google shows the "interactive map tables" in the new information center, and they look a whole lot like Microsoft Surface units. But they aren't, a representative from NYCGo tells us. They're custom-made.