Web Site Registers Smells Of the World

A Web site in Japan combines Google's mapping technology with hundreds of sophisticated olfactory systems. Members of the "Smell Club" locate unusual smells around the world. They map them so you can click on the site and find out where they are. Some of the odors are not appealing — like "cat with halitosis." Organizers say someday they hope to be able to transmit scent online.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

And today's last word in business is a website that combines Google's mapping technology with hundreds of sophisticated olfactory systems. Olfactory, that has to do with smell.

The word is the smell club. It's a Japanese website, and it has 200 members so far. What they do is locate unusual smells around the world, smells that do not yet have a single word to describe them. Members put them on the map, so you can click on the site and find out where they are.

Some of these odours are described as, for example, cat with halitosis or toasty odour of cow dung. Both those smells are in Japan, if you'd like to go smell them. Some clicks can lead you to fragrances like scent of verbena soap near a monastery, which is in Paris.

Unfortunately, you cannot smell it through the computer yet. A spokesperson for the website says finding a smell function is the next challenge. I smell an opportunity for somebody. And that's the business news on Morning Edition from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

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