What do you see when you Google the word “Edmonton?”
Some would say the answer isn’t pretty.
The first image you’ll see when you search our city is one of the abandoned Rossdale Power Plant, a historic but not exactly picturesque brick building.
Shot from a low angle, the image features the power plant’s towering chimneys, flanked by dreary clouds and a swampy-looking North Saskatchewan River.
It’s not the most enticing image for the would-be tourist searching for details about Alberta’s capital, says Dana DiTomaso, CBC tech columnist and president and partner at Kick Point, and Edmonton-based digital marketing agency.
But Google didn’t pick the image, DiTomaso told CBC Radio’s Edmonton AM.
The search engine runs off an algorithm that picks the image that most closely relates to the geographic co-ordinates of the city the image represents. In this case, the power plant is basically exactly in the centre of the city.
Edmontonians who know the city is more than just a power plant can’t do much about changing the image.
“You can’t call up Google and say, ‘Hey, can you change this?’ You don’t get to call Google,” DiTomaso said.
Plenty of options
But the city is working with Google to fix the problem, city spokesperson Sarah Meffen said in an email.
They’re exploring some other image options, like those on the city’s Wikipedia page — the Hull Block in McCauley, Victoria Promenade in Oliver, the Edmonton Folk Music Festival in Gallagher Park, or the Art Gallery of Alberta.
DiTomaso suggested something that encompasses the area surrounding the power plant.
“I think there are a lot of great panoramas, honestly, from Saskatchewan Drive,” she said.
“I think it’s representative of the city. And I kind of think it should be in winter, because it’s a winter city.”
If you could sum Edmonton up in one image, what would it be?
Many of CBC Edmonton’s Facebook followers agree with DiTomaso — the city looks beautiful from Saskatchewan…