Posted March 1, 2010 1:07 pm by with 2 comments

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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.

Read Write Web points out this may be a direct challenge to Bing’s Maps with Photosynth, originally integrated into Microsoft’s maps offering in 2008.

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?

  • Jordan,

    First thanks for making me aware of this new feature. It’s a great value and help for users of Google Maps and I will certainly use it!

    I think this new feature is just another that Bing maps is not providing, so yes, it could be perceived as a “Bing Maps killer”. Google doesn’t really needs one but why not making Google maps better and offer something that we won’t find with Bing Maps.
    .-= Lucas Abtey´s last blog ..The Importance and Technique of Tracking Your Marketing Results =-.

  • I agree with Lucas. Anything added to the map features is an extra asset. I’ll be using it for sure!