Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Google agrees to acquire Panoramio

We are very (and we mean very) happy to announce that Panoramio will be acquired by Google.

The integration of photos from Panoramio in Google Earth has been so successful since John Hanke suggested it that we see the acquisition of Panoramio as a natural consequence. We have tightened our relationship with Google Earth more and more in recent months, and at the end we decided to walk one step further. After so much work together, honestly, we couldn't imagine a better scenario than selling Panoramio to Google. Most people upload their photos to Panoramio to share them through Google Earth, and it's way cool to see Panoramio's photos in Google Earth, so the upcoming acquisition reaffirms the current win-win situation.

For now, our user interface will not change; accounts, urls, features... We will keep working for Panoramio as a team, but this time using Google infrastructure as Panoramio further integrates into Google's mapping technologies. We will also keep answering e-mails directly as much as possible.

The upcoming acquisition will bring many advantages to Panoramio users, starting with a better infrastructure to improve the reliability of Panoramio, more frequent updates of Panoramio's Google Earth layer, and more resources for some invisible tasks that take time out from working on new features.

To watch our little project grow since its conception one and a half years ago has been an amazing experience, and we hope to make it even bigger with this step and with your continued support. We have worked hard to arrive to this point, but we know we could not do it without all of you, the wonderful community of people that upload their best photos to Panoramio. You deserve all the credit. There are no words to say how honoured we feel when someone decides to choose Panoramio for sharing their photos.

We have lots of ideas in the pipeline. Our baby is still growing, so stay tuned!

Regards,

José, Joaquín and Eduardo

Friday, May 4, 2007

Correction of misplaced photos with suggestions from other people

Four years ago I was in Potosi (Bolivia) and I took some photos from its beautiful colonial buildings. When I uploaded those photos to Panoramio some years later I had some problems mapping them. I could not remember the exact position of those photos, especially because the satellite images were not that detailed at that time. Some days ago, I received suggestions to relocate those photos. I was completely amazed by the accuracy of the suggestions and the improved quality of the satellite images from Google Maps. It is a nice feeling to know that your photos are in the right place ;)

Of course, I was not the only one in that situation. Despite that most of photos uploaded to Panoramio are located with very much accuracy, the existence of misplaced photos has always being a hot issue. Some months ago we added the possibility to suggest new locations to misplaced photos. At first we were checking the suggestions ourselves, but very soon we realized that we could not manage the rising number of suggestions and even more important, very often we had problems to decide what to do. Another important point was that relocating photos without notifying the author was not specially nice, especially in the case of false positives.

Then we realized that the author of the photo is best person to decide about suggestions. After all he was there and knows the place better than us. We also believe that authors should be responsible for the quality of their own contributions, so in case the suggestions are ignored, photos might be removed from the public map. You will receive alerts by e-mail when a suggestion to your photos is sent, so you can manage it in few hours. The number of suggestions received is visible in your personal area.

The suggestion system has been already working a couple of weeks, but there were some adjustments pending.

- The system was accumulating suggestions for some time before, thus many people suddenly received many suggestions. Now that stock of suggestions is over and the flow of new suggestions much smaller.

- At first there were too many wrong and repeated suggestions, maybe because some people was just testing the system. In order to prevent that, only one suggestion per photo is accepted now.

- The management page was downloading very slow when displayed many suggestions. Now the number of suggestion is limited and it downloads faster.

Until now more than 20.000 suggestions have been managed by the system and around 1.000 suggestions are sent per day. Overall the feedback has been very positive. Thanks for your suggestions!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Panoramio API released: Display photos from Panoramio on your own website

Since almost the beginning of the project we received requests for to provide an API. However the last months, specially after reaching the first million of photos, the number of requests rocketed and we realized we should do it. Now Panoramio API is ready.

In any site where location matters photos from Panoramio can help. For example, photos can illustrate the area around a hotel in a reservations website or show how it looks the neigbourghood where a house is located in a real estate site. What is makes photos published by the community of Panoramio so useful is their high quality and representativeness. Panoramio API allows you to select only a selection of the photos (popular tab) or all them.

While we were preparing the API page, some sites already integrated Panoramio photos in their sites. They are great examples of what it can be done with Panoramio API.

- Gpsies.com was the first site that used the API to illustrate its tracks, like this one around the lake Cospudener in Leipzig, Germany (check "Pictures of Panoramio" on the right-bar).

- Joost Schreve from Everytrail.com made a great use of the API for this GPS Travel Communiy. Now while watching the Training route in Westerpark you can see how Amsterdam channels look like.

- Also Jordi L. Ramot from Wikiloc, the winner of the mash-up contest, made the integration in few hours just after knowing about the API. In Wikiloc you can enjoy the beautiful landscape while watching Porcupine Rim track by bike in Moab (Utah).

In the Panoramio API page we included some other examples, coding, explanations and more information.