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May 25, 2012 | It’s not the camera, stupid!


Reds are where tourists take photos, blues are where locals take photos. From the amazing Eric Fisher.

It’s a bit of an amazement to me why everyone seems to be scratching their heads and wondering why Facebook seems to be keen on the camera (including the newly launched Facebook Camera and the $1 billion Instagram). It’s not the photos that they are interested in – it’s the geotagged data that goes along with it. If you’re taking photos with a smartphone (more than half of cellphone users in the United States have one), then your photos are generally automatically tagged with location information. If you can get a compelling camera app that works, has a decent community around it, and a mechanism for storage and sharing, then you’ve got yourself the world’s easiest Foursquare.


The places I’ve taken photos in the past year or two, as shown through iPhoto

Photos are great for sharing with others, but they’re also a really tangible and accurate representation of where we’ve been and what we’ve found interesting. I might venture to say Instagram’s photos actually aren’t about people, most of the time, which makes it even more valuable, because individuals are stopping to take photos that mark aesthetically pleasing stopping points along the daily grind. If you’ve taken photos of what you’ve eaten, it not only helps you remember, or makes your friends drool (potentially), but it gives your photo storage provider a great idea of what you like to eat.

To be honest, I’m more curious than concerned, especially since photos do end up being in the realm of things I actually have (some amount) of control over – as far as I know, unless anyone saves my photos manually, my deleting them from Instagram pulls them from feeds that use Instagram, like FollowGram and WebStagram. In fact, I really missed the opportunity for me to track my own location in previous iOS releases (without using data or a battery-sucking app), because it was pretty neat to see (and I could always yank it).

A picture is worth a thousand words, but it’s probably worth a thousand bucks as well.

This entry was posted on Friday, May 25th, 2012 at 8:09 pm, EST under the category of Coding. Both comments and pings are currently closed.