How many Flickr users does it take to recreate Rome?

Posted on September 22, 2009. Filed under: Tech News | Tags: , |

By Nik Fletcher, Downloadsquad


Flickr is one of my favourite all-time web services, and I’ll admit a huge fascination with some of the visualisation stuff the Flickr folks do with maps, Flickr photos and their location data. So you can imagine my excitement last week as Popular Science featured a piece on how a University of Washington Graphics team automatically recreated Rome with images from Flickr. The team took photos from 150,000 Flickr users, and using some custom algorithms recreated Rome automatically using 500 computers and 13 hours processing time. They even went one better and also recreated the slowly-sinking city of Venice, and built that 3D virtual model from 250,000 photos in under a day.

By now you’re probably thinking ‘that’s an incredibly long time to render’ – however the team is touting the speed of the 3D model building here too. The technology used in Microsoft’s PhotoSynth product (which also originated at the same research lab) would have taken a calendar year to automatically build the same 3D model of Venice.

Be sure to take a look at the video tours over on the Popular Science Web site, and see the end results from Flickr’s library – the team have set their sights on a million-image based rendering of a city in the future, so hopefully there’s plenty more of these to come!

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Radar for iPhone finds Flickr support

Posted on March 12, 2009. Filed under: iPhone | Tags: , , |

By Greg Kumparak, Mobilecrunch


Heres an idea: If you’re looking to build up your social site’s user base, add support for a popular, similarly focused (but not directly competitive) social site to your network’s iPhone application. It may sound crazy (who wants to promote someone else’s brand?), but that’s exactly what Radar, a social network for sharing cameraphone images and videos, is doing. This morning, Radar has released an update to their iPhone application which adds Flickr support to the mix.

Though Radar and Flickr are quite similar in that they’re both intended as repositories for your photographs, their finer focus differs just enough for this idea to work. Flickr is generally used for collections of high resolution images, with the comments area serving as a grounds for conversations that stretch on indefinitely. Radar, on the other hand, is more for spur-of-the-moment, heres-what-I’m-doing-right-now type stuff.

It also helps that free Flickr support on the iPhone is currently mostly unclaimed; searching for “Flickr” on the iPhone returns a handful of Flickr-friendly uploaders, less than half of which are free. Of these free applications, very few have more than 50 reviews. While the number of reviews isn’t an absolute indication of the number of downloads, it’s generally relative. In other words, it doesn’t seem like any of these applications have really taken off. Radar only added Flickr support this morning, yet already shows up in the first page of results for the term (albeit at the very bottom.) Flickr has a rather substantial user base; if Radar manages to become the go-to application for Flickr, they might just pull enough eyes toward their own service to make the endeavor worth while. That said, if Flickr ever gets around to releasing their own official iPhone offering (beyond the Web App), it would likely take the throne pretty quickly.

Therein lies the flaw of Radar; while the concept is grand, it seems.. replaceable. It’s an entire social service built up around a single idea, and it’s an idea that other social sites can get (and pretty much have already got) up and running quite easily. Facebook’s iPhone app, for example, allows the user to upload mobile photos straight their profiles for sharing and commenting. The same can be said about Twitter, of course – it’s an entire social service build up around a single idea (a similar idea, really – just text, rather than images). But Twitter succeeds in that the format promotes efficient (or at least brief) conversation and open dialog that tends to branch out into many more conversations. Would the conversation flourish as well if pictures were required at the beginning of each?

As a piggyback application for services like Flickr and Twitter, I see it working; as a standalone service, I’m not sure I see the point.

Ah, well – Radar is free and does as advertised. If you’re looking for a solid Flickr uploader, it’s worth checking out. Here’s the iTunes link.

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Digg could take on StumbleUpon, TinyURL with new toolbar

Posted on February 28, 2009. Filed under: Tech News | Tags: , , , , |

By Brad Linder


It looks like Digg is working on a StumbleUpon-like toolbar that lets users digg, bury, or find related stories while surfing the web. Veronica Belmont first spotted a screenshot of the toolbar on Flickr, and it looks like the folks at TechCrunch managed to track down some additional information about it.

If that info is correct, here’s how it works. Users will see a toolbar the toolbar pop up on their screens. The toolbar shows up in an i-frame, which means it’s not browser specific and you can make it go away at any time just by hitting the X button.

When you visit pages that have already been submitted to Digg, you’ll see the number of votes it has received. Or you can submit the page you’re currently on. You can also bury stories or see related stories.

The toolbar will also create a shortened URL for any page you’re visiting, beginning with… You can then share this shortened URL via email, Twitter, Facebook, or other services much the same way you would with TinyURL.

The Digg toolbar is not available to the general public at this point. And for all we know, the whole thing could just be a hoax. But it certainly seems like something Digg could and/or should offer in the future.

Source: downloadsquad

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Facebook Photos Pulls Away From The Pack

Posted on February 23, 2009. Filed under: Tech News | Tags: , , , |

by Erick Schonfeld

facebook photos vs chartIf  Facebook has one standout application it has to be Photos. Measured on its own, it is the largest photo site on the Web. A full 69 percent of Facebook’s monthly visitors worldwide either look at or upload photos, based on comScore data. And more than 10 billion photos have been uploaded to the site.

And it’s been pulling away from its competitors. As can be seen in the comScore chart above, as recently as last September the top three photo sites in the U.S. were running neck-and-neck, with Facebook Photos at 23.9 million unique visitors, followed by Photobucket at 21.3 million uniques, and Flickr at 19.5 million uniques. But by January, the number of monthly U.S. visitors going to Facebook Photos shot up 41 percent to 33.6 million. Meanwhile, Photobucket is up only 7 percent to 22.8 million, while Flickr is up 12 percent to 21.9 million. (Picasa is a distant fourth in the U.S. with 8.1 million).

In other words, Facebook increased the gap between its closest competitor (Photobucket in the U.S.) from 2.6 million monthly unique visitors to 10.8 million. On a worldwide basis, the gap between Facebook Photos and Flickr (which is the No. 2 site globally, and looks like it is about to pass Photobucket in the U.S.) went from 41.2 million unique monthly visitors in September to 87 million in December (the most recent data available, see chart below).

What accounts for Facebook’s advantage in the photo department? The biggest factor is simply that it is the default photo feature of the largest social network in the world. And of all the viral loops that Facebook benefits from, its Photos app might have the largest viral loop of all built into it. Whenever one of your friends tags a photo with your name, you get an email. This single feature turns a solitary chore—tagging and organizing photos—into a powerful form of communication that connects people through activities they’ve done in the past in an immediate, visual way. I would not be surprised if people click back through to Facebook from those photo notifications at a higher rate than from any other notification, including private messages.

But the tagging feature has been part of Facebook Photos for a long time. What happened in September to accelerate growth? That is when a Facebook redesign went into effect which added a Photos tab on everyone’s personal homepage.

(The chart above shows U.S. visitors through January. The chart below shows international visitors through December, with 153.3 million unique visitors for Facebook Photos, 66.7 million for Flickr, 45.5 million for Picasa and 42.7 million for Photobucket).


Source: techcrunch

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Adography Offers A Way To Cash In On Your Amateur Photos

Posted on February 20, 2009. Filed under: Software World, Tech News | Tags: , , , |

by Robin Wauters

AdographyEveryone knows there are lots of amateur and hobbyist photographers out there, and collectively they produce a massive amount of material stored on online photo sharing sites and desktops around the globe which might just contain that one image an advertiser was looking to use to communicate a message.

Adography is a relatively new service that offers a way to monetize your own amateur photos if you think there are some who might make for great advertisement material.

Adography is essentially a marketplace where people can put their amateur photos up for sale, while businesses can put out requests for photos by creating so-called ‘want-ads’. You can find an example of a listing here, which includes the image specifications, asking price, and more. The service is free for people who upload their photos, but we should note the FAQ mentions that Adography is automatically granted an exclusive worldwide license for twelve months for every uploaded picture.

It’s obviously not a novel idea, as there are plenty of web services out there with a similar proposition. Even Yahoo’s Flickr was once considering launching its own marketplace dubbed Flickr Stock. The problem with most of these is, evidently, marketing the service and getting the scale needed to attract enough advertisers and photographers to make it compelling enough for both target groups to come back for more.

Adography faces the same problems, and personally I think the user experience is a bit below par for the moment. That said, the name has a nice ring to it and no clear leader has emerged yet in this space (meaning non stock photography marketplaces) so who knows if this one will fly. Then again, I’m not so sure the advertisers Adography cites as examples (e.g. Coca-Cola) will be interested in low-resolution amateur images for their official branding campaigns. Seems to me small businesses would be more interested in the service, but how do you reach them?

Update: as a commentor notes, iStockPhoto is probably the most familiar name in this space, but it’s not really the best place for true amateur photos.

On a sidenote: I love this type of story. Someone has an idea, which lingers in his or her mind until one day this person wakes up and decides to incorporate and try to turn the idea into a business, not even considering anything but bootstrapping to get it started. In this particular case, the founder is documenting this road less traveled by blogging about it, which is a welcome aside for aspiring entrepreneurs who haven’t made the jump yet and want to read someone else’s experiences first.

Source: techcrunch

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