Flickr Photos In Google Street View

google streetview with flickr

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).

photosynth streetview google flickr

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.

  • floria

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  • John

    Nice article Bradey, but while you’re focusing on the possibilities this gives, you are missing one important aspect: the legalities.

    Google is serving copyrighted photos (“All rights reserved”) in their ad-sponsored (albeit useful and fun) service.

    Would any other ad-agency or newspaper or online service get away with scraping images off Flickr and incorporate them into their own service?

    The fact that this isn’t considered by most tech-coverage of this new Google/Flickr partnership is a punch to the face for online copyright.

    You write: “I am doubly curious if Facebook will ever let its photos be used in a similar way.”

    Actually, Facebook could if they wanted, due to their highly controversial user agreement involving licensing of any content you upload, but I’m fairly certain Flickr does not have that broad licensing terms in the EULA.

  • Nathanael

    Hi, Brady, I’m aware that you know this, being that you wrote the story that I’m about to link to, but my fellow readers might be interested to know that Bing Maps is doing the same thing (although they have much less street level imagery to match against so far.)

    For more information, see this story.

    On the copyright front, unlike Google who apparently uses any photo it likes, regardless of copyright, Bing only uses photos which have been licensed with the appropriate Creative Commons license to reuse and redistribute. For more, see this video

  • If only Bing was half as good as Google is !

  • Floria is right. Some of my photos were also on GG street view, and there are copyrighted.

    But what can i do ? It’s google, no way to contact them…