Panoramio: Photos of the World
Type of site
|Alexa rank||1,449 (January 2014[update])|
|Launched||October 3, 2005|
|Current status||Active until 4th Nov. 2016|
Panoramio is a geolocation-oriented photo sharing mashup owned by Google. Accepted photos uploaded to the site can be accessed as a layer in Google Earth and Google Maps, with new photos being added at the end of every month. The site's goal is to allow Google Earth users to learn more about a given area by viewing the photos that other users have taken at that place. The website is available in several languages.
Panoramio commenced in 2005 and will close on 4th November 2016.
Panoramio was started in the summer of 2005 by Joaquín Cuenca Abela and Eduardo Manchón Aguilar, two Spanish entrepreneurs. It was officially launched on 3 October 2005, and by 19 March 2007, it had archived over 1 million user submitted photographs. Three months later, on 27 June 2007, the number of photos reached two million. After a further four months, on 25 October 2007, the number of archived photos reached five million.
In October 2006. Google, began approaches to acquire Panoramio. but these were rebuffed. However, on 30 May 2007, Google announced plans to acquire the website, and Panoramio was acquired by Google in July 2007.
As of September 2014, Panoramio was a world community of several million people and was available in 47 languages.
In May 2015, the number of uploaded photos (including deleted objects) exceeded 120 million.
On 8th October 2016, the total number of uploaded photos (as recorded by Panorank) was 94,370,531 by 4,159,004 users, resulting in a total of 75,640,891,592 image views.
On 16 September 2014, it was announced, that Google intends to close Panoramio and migrate it to Google Maps Views. During the migration important Panoramio features, such as "comments", "favorite photographers" and "groups" are to disappear.
On 23 September 2014, Panoramio founders Joaquín Cuenca Abela, Jose Florido Conde and Eduardo Manchón Aguilar launched a petition addressed to Google for the people, and especially the Panoramio community, to sign, called "Google: Keep The Panoramio Community Alive". It requested that Google refrain from closing Panoramio. it received 10,512 supporters. The information about the Panoramio protest and petition has quickly made headlines on international media.
Panoramio's strength has been that many geo-positioned Panoramio images were selected to appear on Google Earth software. However, photos selected for Google Earth since 14th May 2015 have not appeared on the desktop version of Google Earth. Google has not yet publicly acknowledged this decision nor has the Company explained the reason for it.
On 2 June 2015, it was suddenly announced that Google's plans for Panoramio were revised and that it would continue to operate until a better solution is developed.
The announcement, by Google's James Therrien, stated: "Among Google’s geo-imagery efforts, we strive to balance what makes sense for you, the pro or enthusiast photographer, with the needs of consumers. Achieving this balance can be a challenge, especially when publishing tools are managed under separate products, such as Panoramio, Views, Google+ and Google Maps. So today, after listening to community feedback about the future of the platform, we’re pleased to let you know that there won’t be any immediate changes to Panoramio. Instead of aligning the community with Views, we’ve gone back to the drawing board to work on a more integrated solution that supports you and your content directly within Google Maps. We’ll be taking the necessary time to get this right as we build a solution that strives to meet the majority of your needs. Thanks for your input, and for your patience in the year ahead".
More recently, users have noticed a decline in the site's performance, i.e. not only were photos no longer being loaded to Google Earth but daily view statistics were often not appearing. Since 11th November 2015, the daily count of users individual image hits began to increasingly show up as zero. Up to 2nd October 2016, the number of days with "lost" statistics amounted to 76 days. Google has not explained the reason for the unreliability of the statistics.
On 30th January 2016, a petition was launched by Stuart Smith, a Panoramio user from Australia, to request Google to maintain the site properly. It received over 1500 supporters.
On 5th October 2016, Google informed Panoramio users that they have decided to move forward with closing down Panoramio on 4th November 2016. Users will be able to access their photos in Panoramio for a year, but will no longer be able to add new photos, likes, or comments. Users were told: "Today, with photo upload tools in Google Maps and our Local Guides program, we are providing easy ways for you to share your photos with an active and growing community. As such, we’ve decided to move forward with closing down Panoramio". 
A third on-line petition to Google requesting them not to close Panoramio was started on 5th October by Detlef Huhn, a German Panoramio user.
There was no indication in Google's statement that the promise made in the previous announcement (2nd June 2015) to users i.e. ".....build a solution that strives to meet the majority of your needs" had been or would be met within Google Maps, which has no community building provisions in it, such as users image galleries, photo tagging, groups, favourite photographers, photo 'like' & 'favourite' buttons or inclusion of geo-mapped photos in Google Earth. Nor was any reason given for Google's lack of communication or consultation with Panoramio users.
Panoramio asks users to organize images using tags (a form of metadata), which allow searchers to find images concerning a certain topic such as place name or subject matter. Panoramio was also an early website to implement tag clouds, which provide access to images tagged with the most popular keywords. The website also hosts a list of world famous sites. As of February 2012[update], 1 million photos are uploaded to the site in about 20 days.
Images that have (or are perceived to have) as their central subject people, machines, vehicles or anything within the interiors of structures, or depict public events such as fairs or concerts, are excluded from the GoogleEarth layer, as are any potentially controversial images. No waivers are granted even if the images are historical or otherwise vintage in nature, since copyright has to be held by the uploader. Images judged to be too creative or artistic in concept, such as Photoshop constructions, might also be excluded from Google Earth regardless of other requirements met.
Users could create and join Google Groups. Photos could then be added to a group. This feature has been removed as part of the winding down of the site.
Panoramio had an official iPhone app, which was deprecated in June 2012. Third party developers have released a Windows Phone 7 version of Panoramio that allows users to browse through the various images posted to www.panoramio.com.
- No search for license photos.
- No filter for license photos on the map.
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- "Google Groups". Retrieved 8 October 2016.
- James Therrien. "Announcement - Panoramio, Views and Google Maps".
- "Panoramio - Help - Copy Photos to Google Maps". Retrieved 8 October 2016.
- Samaee, on October 24, said:. "Photo of Days to upload one Millions photos (61 M)". Panoramio. Retrieved 2012-02-15.
- "Panoramio: Adjusting the focus". Blog.panoramio.com. 2012-06-05. Retrieved 2013-07-16.
- Zwezdin, Sergey. "phone app". Windowsphone.com. Retrieved 2013-07-16.
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