Flickr Launches Machine Tags

Flickr, Yahoo‘s amazing photo-sharing site, has added another tag based feature — this one aimed at developers. They are now supporting machine tags (or triple-tags). What are those you might ask?

Machine tags have a namespace, a predicate and a value. The namespace defines a class or a facet that a tag belongs to (‘geo’, ‘flickr’, etc.) The predicate is name of the property for a namespace (‘latitude’, ‘user’, etc.) The value is, well, the value.

This is an example of Flickr increasing support for what users were already doing. For quite some time (before the maps feature was available) Flickr users were tagging their photos as “geotagged”, “geo:lon=”, and “geo:lat=” to encode the photo’s location. Using the Flickr API developers will be able to query for wildcards in the namespace, predicate, and value. It will pave the way for even more flickr applications. Some that come to mind include:
A method for building a dynamic photo conference site using tags like:


Or the-just-blogged about MyPunchBowl (Radar post) could use its Flickr integration to write machine tags for its users’ photos (partyname:attendee=personname). McLeods, a new Seattle art-tech space, could use machine tags to encode all of the photos taken with its Flickr photobooth (mcleods:event=eventname).

To sum, I have to say that I agree with Flickr employee, Rev Dan Catt, that the big takeaway…

… is that a massive site (Flickr) with over 3 billion 369,427,716 photos and goodness knows how many tags to go along with that. Have modified their databases, tweaked code and written APIs to allow and encourage developers to use Machine Tags. Which to me, marks a recognition and evolution in Tags and how they can be used.

Update: Corrected the number of Flickr photos.