Google Maps added user photos from Panaramio to Street View last year. They started with photos around major landmarks and added user photos for all their Street Views as well as maps without Street View. Now geo-tagged, user-submitted Flickr photos as well as other location-specific photos from Google’s own Picasa are more a part of Google Maps’ offerings than ever: Google’s adding new ways to find the photos and better integrating them with their own street-level views.
The new integration will show the user photos just like it used to (accessible through a thumbnail shot in the upper-right), but it will also interconnect the user photos. If they have a better shot of a Street View or user photo, an “orb” will appear in the image when a user rolls their mouse over it. Click on the orb to see the better view.
Google uses its recognition and matching technology to identify views of the same building and link them to the maps. They also put an orb on adjacent images if they have a better view of those.
As always, Google explains with a video, too:
In other Google Maps news, they’re also offering a service to try to help locate loved ones in the aftermath of the Chile earthquake this weekend.
What do you think? Is this a Bing Maps killer—and does Google really need one?