Geotagging photos is something that I never got into doing until recently. I have a Flickr account and I went through my 5,000+ photos adding locations of where they were taken. Surprisingly it didn’t take me all that long, but I also didn’t go that in-depth with geotagging. For the most part, I would just get the general location of where they were taken at, instead of the exact position at which I took a specific photo.
Flickr does a good job of making geotagging an almost effortless process, but to be honest, I really don’t like Yahoo! Maps. Well, it’s not that I don’t like it all together, I just don’t like Flickr’s implementation of it. If I wanted to find something such as Epcot Center in Disney World (a point of interest that’s on every map) you would think that I could just enter that into the search. Nope, it mostly returns results for cities/towns or returns nothing at all. I’m sure if it recognized more points of interest, I could have geotagged my 5,000 photos in 5 hours instead of the 10 hours that it took. Of course doing a search for “Epcot Center” on Yahoo! Maps actually works perfect, so it is how Flickr does things that is the problem.
Google learned from Flickr’s mistakes when they launched their new geotagging capabilities in Picasa Web Albums by making it a 5-second process. You can geotag individual photos or complete albums, and the AJAX search lookup is top-notch. In the screenshot above, as soon as I finished typing “ames,iowa” it automatically pulled up the location that I was referring to…and I didn’t have to push a single button. Honestly, the whole tagging process in Picasa Web Albums is almost disgustingly simple. Google obviously thought it out and did it right.
When viewing albums on a map, it shows thumbnails of the images so that they are easy to navigate. Here is an example album that Google setup to demonstrate how geotagged images look on a map, and you’ll even notice that there is a link to view the album in Google Earth. Below are two screenshots I took when viewing the map in Picasa Web Albums (on the left) and Google Earth (on the right):
Overall Google is really starting to impress me with the features they have been adding to Picasa Web Albums, although Flickr is a lot more reasonable when it comes to cost and private photo sharing. For an annual fee of $25 I can get 7GB of storage at Google (which wouldn’t hold all of my photos), or for the same price at Flickr I get unlimited everything. So I would need Google’s $100 plan which offers 26GB of storage, but I would still need to worry about how I can share my private photos with my family. With Flickr I can give out guest passes so that people can see only the albums I specify, and I can retract those passes at anytime. I’m not going to be giving up on Flickr quite yet, but Google is headed in the right direction.
Kudos to CoryC for the tip