Jan 25

Brady Forrest

Brady Forrest

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.

tags: web 2.0  | comments: 7   | Sphere It

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Comments: 7

  Rev Dan Catt [01.25.07 05:20 PM]

ooops, 3 Billion was a typo on my post, not there (yet) ...

... correct number is around 369,427,716, looking at the id of the latest photo.

I miss-read my digits in the hurry/tired :)



  Rev Dan Catt [01.25.07 05:22 PM]

Humm, please excuse the excessive whitespace in the above comment, wonky input :/

  rektide [01.25.07 09:54 PM]

thats one big win for structured data!

Rev, yeah did the input forum change? this sucks, preview renders differently from post.

  steve [01.26.07 12:23 AM]

Looks like an implementation of Linda's tuple-space.

  Dan Zambonini [01.26.07 01:04 AM]

Ooh, looks very similar to RDF... Semantic Web, here we come... (maybe not, yet)

  rektide [01.26.07 09:43 AM]

IT LOOKS LIKE DATA. Its all the same stuff, data strucutres, no matter the make up, erm, markup. Linda was about coordination spaces, Name:Value pairs arent hardly unique.

  Joel [01.26.07 10:11 AM]

Why are they called "machine tags"? Wouldn't "subject" be a better description of what's referred to as a "predicate"?
Just askin'

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