At Web 2.0 Summit this week, Flickr previewed a feature that will provide a new way to browse photos based on geographic location. They are making over their map explorer and introducing new Places Pages that will make it easier to see what’s going on around the world through pictures.
The current map explorer lets you view pictures by location (with a very simple filter that returns all photos tagged that way), but the new features will percolate the most interesting and newsworthy photos to the top by way of those shiny new web 2.0 trends called user-generated content and crowdsourcing (all the cool kids are using them!). Or in their words, “Each photo, photographer, or group featured on any Places Page will be included because our members found them interesting as an aggregate group.”
From a searcher perspective, the move is yet another addition to the growing world of discovery-based search. In the early days of the web, nearly all search was done via browsing, and services like this one, Digg, and StumbleUpon are proof that everything old is new again.
From a search marketer perspective, this is a reminder that Flickr, and photo services like it, are an avenue for driving traffic to your site if you use them effectively. In addition to using keyword-rich titles, descriptions, and tags, make sure you geotag your photos so they have the opportunity to appear in geographical browsing. To do this, click “Place this photo on a map” to access a map view of the Organizr. Then simply drag the photo to a location on the map. (You can search for a location and zoom in the map for a more granular view.) You can also do this as a batch operation for a set of photos (by date, set, tag, or other criteria). Users currently geotag a photo every 1.3 seconds, for a total of 115,000 a day.