Google Maps has added more user photos to its Street View (above). Now the Yahoo-owned Flickr is joining the Google-owned Panoramio and Picasa photo sites as a supplier of alternative street views. GeoBloggers reported it earlier today and also noted that the photos are available in the Panoramio 3D view (below).
This is significant for two reasons:
1) Flickr has millions of geotagged photos (2.3 million photos with location data were uploaded this month; 95,634,285 in total as this writing). These photos document the earth and with the addition of location metadata they can become useful for more than just photo-lovers. User-generated data and content is being used in significant ways to represent the earth — especially online. Human contributions show up in base mapping data (in products like Google MapMaker and Open Street Map) and in routing data (in products like Tele Atlas MapShare). This is another proving point in the case for the human built map.
2) The web is a platform and it is great to see excellent, rival services able to work together to build a superior product. I have put out some questions to the Flickr team about how this came about and some of the inner workings of the deal, but I am pretty sure that it would have only been done if the Flickr and Google Maps teams were working together. I am curious if any money was exchanged (none is my guess), how often the Flickr photos get updated, where else these Flickr photos are going to show up in Google’s services (Google Goggles perhaps?) and will they show up in new search partner Bing? I am doubly curious if Facebook will ever let its photos be used in a similar way.
We’ll be discussing Mapping, Mobile and Local trends with Google and Yahoo! (and others) at Where 2.0. The three day conference runs March 30- April 1 in San Jose. Radar readers can register with this discount code for 25% whr10pcb.