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Google to Buy Geo-Tagging Site Panoramio

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More geoweb tools for Google. Geo-tagging photo site Panoramio announced on its blog this morning that it will be acquired by Google for an undisclosed sum. Google posted the news on its blog last night.

The company is a one and a half year old startup based in Spain. Co-founder Eduardo Manchón writes:

“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.”

This week at the Where 2.0 conference Google’s Director of Google Earth and Google Maps John Hanke said to “expect more M&A” from Google as well as the rest of the industry when it comes to location web startups. Guess this is just the latest.

Hanke himelf joined Google when his startup Keyhole was acquired, as did Google Geo Software engineer Bernhard Seefeld, who came from Endoxon.

I asked Hanke this week if there are any specific types of technology that Google is looking to acquire through location startups. He said Google looks more at the quality of the team that will be brought into the fold, and pointed out the company had hired the Stanford team behind the robotic car Stanley.

16 Responses to “Google to Buy Geo-Tagging Site Panoramio”

  1. SlideMap let you explore a world of Flickr geotagged images within an interactive map. The new mashup overlays user-created Flickr tags, on a Yahoo! world map. Tags can be clicked on to view photos taken in that geographic region. This is based on a research prototype from Yahoo! Research Berkeley.

  2. I when GPS technology will be cheap/compact enough to include standard in all cameras and camera phones. Then, the geo-tags could be applied automatically as the pictures are taken. Lots of cool things can be done with geo-tagged content.

  3. cool. phones with cameras have to be turned into cameras with modems to send geotagged pics. we are very interested as we have a community of people who have been asking us to allow their photos to be uploaded to our site as the events unfold. share the laughter/sadness/moments of importance with people who are emotionally very close but geographically spread.
    as an aside, I think google is unravelling its awesome footprint that is kinda all pervasive. exciting , at the same time scary- a single company being the repository of so much knowledge/private information/geographical information is not good.some kind of secure distribution of digital assets where no one single person can aggregate should be put in place.

  4. Artashes

    Btw, I wonder whether Google’s new Street View service as part of their Maps product has some correlation with their Panoramio acquisition… Perhaps they will soon introduce geo-tagging/stories with Street View.

  5. Artashes

    @ Gavin:

    You make a good point, you can surely find something “unique” about other similar services. However, the barrier of entry and introduction of exactly the same feature is minimal and there is nothing that stops Google-Panoramio from releasing the features available on Grapheety, Sociallight, etc.

    Michael Sharon just proved my previous point – too many companies competing on same turfs, so unless you are funded by VCs with connections to Google board, you are out of luck and major acquisition cash in the pocket. :)


  6. Joost, Artashes:

    I agree with both of your points. I think there tends to be one giant, with others playing catchup, but I don’t think it’s as static as you allude too. I think has a huge user base and tagged base. I think flickr has way more photos, though not really location based. Giants come and go, no one says Facebook is worthless just because Myspace is already so big?

    I also think that Panoramio has done a great job keeping things simple, providing many photos of those areas. They obviously got a huge boost from teaming with Google on Google Earth.

    I think where sites like can have a unique niche is where people want location based stories with pictures, rather than just pictures of things. When a person writes useful information about a place, with attachments, there is some real value.

  7. Artashes

    @ Gavin:

    As there really can be one big winner per competing field, that’s what companies get for starting same services on the same turf. My prediction – Panoramio will grow fast and explode in popularity, while others will play catch-up and pretend to be more innovative than Google’s arm (even if for a while).


  8. GPS as standard in phones/cameras wont be long in coming Nate. The Nokia N95 already has a 5megapixel camera and integrated GPS. Ok its expensive at the moment but give it a year or so…

  9. @#4:
    The way I look at Panoramio vs the others you mention is that Panoramio users are essentially creating an entirely new “map layer”, because their focus is on “descriptive” photos. On top of street maps and satellite photos you will soon be able to pull in user generated photos from interesting points (Panoramio) in addition to 360 street views (newly launched Google street views).

    So the key thing that sets Panoramio apart is its focus on “objective” photos, that show objects rather than people. For example, when we experimented with automatically integrating Flickr geotagged photos in EveryTrail trips, we found that often these photos were close-ups of people. Nothing wrong with that, but not as relevant when you want to include photos to show were you have been.

  10. Congrats to Eduardo, Joaquin and the team at Panoramio! We integrated their brand new API in EveryTrail a couple of months ago and their global catalog of geotagged photos is of very high quality indeed. Way to go! Geotagging is going mainstream :)

    @#1: you can already automatically geotag your photos by using a separate GPS device or GPS enabled cellphone at sites like ours.

  11. GuyNamedNate

    I when GPS technology will be cheap/compact enough to include standard in all cameras and camera phones. Then, the geo-tags could be applied automatically as the pictures are taken. Lots of cool things can be done with geo-tagged content.