A Brief History of the Google Maps Pegman

Illustration for article titled A Brief History of the Google Maps Pegman

You might not think of him very often, but you know the Google Maps pegman quite well. Every time you zoom down into a new, strange locale, he's there, pointing the way. But where did he come from? Buzzfeed FWD dug into the history, and it turns out there's a lot more of it than you'd think.


Pegman started out not as a featureless human, but rather a disembodied eyeball. When that was too weird, it evolved into a pegwoman, a strange bespectacled blockman, and eventually into the comforting, familiar peg you've come to know and love. A peg that serves and important purpose.

From Buzzfeed FWD:

Pegman's origin is fundamentally a design story: how do you connect, with an icon, the 2D top-down Google Maps experience with the sensation of ground-level, 360-degree Street View. It's meant to solve what's called the Subway Effect - that jarring disorientation you feel when you emerge from a station not knowing where you are or what direction you are facing. Google designers added the "yellow brick road" lines down the centers of the streets, which helped. But they needed something more.

Even after the peg settled into its yellow, man-form, there have been plenty of subtle variations. In different places on different days, pegman has been swapped out with any one of a rogue's gallery of replacements from leprechauns to astronauts. Hop over to Buzzfeed to learn more about the little dude's journey from icon to iconic. [Buzzfeed FWD]


Ryan Rife

Looks nearly identical to the BeOS icon.