At the Web 2.0 Summit going on right now, Flickr’s co-founder Stewart Butterfield will be demonstrating two changes that will debut over the next several weeks to the popular photo sharing service. These new features will focus on geography and allowing people to discover places around the world using photos. With the millions upon millions of photos that have been geotagged, Butterfield is hoping that the new user interface will allow for discovery of photos instead of flipping through pages upon pages of photos. The first change will be updates to the Geotagging feature, and the second will be a completely new feature called “Places Pages.”
It was a year ago in late August of 2006 that Flickr first introduced geotagging using Yahoo Maps to their service. Now that more than 29 million photos have been publically geotagged, they’ve decided to make some changes to the results page for these photos to enhance the experience. Instead of displaying little circles like what currently happens, with numbers indicating how many photos have been tagged at a particular location, the map will display actual descriptive tags. There will also be changes to the navigation process.
“Places Pages” is an entirely new feature to Flickr and according to TechCrunch, they are “dedicated pages that provide users with specific information about places.” Every photo that is ever uploaded is taken at a “place” which means there’s a lot we can learn from locations all over the World. On these pages, not only will you be able to view photos, you’ll also be able to see the weather, local time, and even any relevant Flickr groups pertaining to the page as seen below in the example of the “San Francisco Places Page.” TechCrunch says that overtime, this new feature will get even better by allowing users to make adjustments to the page. For example, if you were viewing photos of New York City, you could adjust the season so that you could see pictures of New York City only in the Fall, or only in the Summer, depending on what season it was.
Both the updates to geotagging and the new way that Flickr is putting a focus on geography through the Places Pages sounds interesting. I could see people using a combination of these two features to help them decide where they want to take a vacation, or teachers using it to teach their students about places all over the World. There are so many posibilities when you incorporate geography and photography, and I can’t wait to get a hands-on experience with it once in launches in the next few weeks.