Panoramio is a photographic social network associated with Google. Uploading photos on Panoramio, you can partecipate to enlarge the panoramio community and you may have your shots visible on Google services.
The community itself is made up by occasional, amateur and professional photographers who share any kind of picture as it happen on any other social network. There are games, contests and groups you can partecipate with your shots in order to getting in touch with other users and sharing your shots and your experience with them, but the feature which make Panoramio more interesting is the possibility to have your shots be selected for Google Earth and Google Maps. A large part of members try to upload almost only geotagged pictures which can be selected for these services. They do not only upload their best shots on Panoramio, but also any picture which can potentially be selected. Since there are many users and the map is already filled up with many pictures, the only way to be visible on this social network is to upload a lot of pictures which can be selected for Google Earth. I think it is more important to have many pictures instead of few high quality ones. Of course, it doesn’t mean you have to share very bad pictures, just not only the best ones of your portfolio. Another thing it can help is to upload pictures of not so famous locations, because you will notice that famous places such as Times Square or the Golden Gate are already full of images on the map. Instead, a field in the countryside or a nice view from a mountain may have less geotagged photos.
This is the same way I do partecipate to this community and my aim is to give my shots a worldwide visible showcase on Google services, showing the places I photographed and I’ve been so far. Sometimes I shoot pictures with the only purpose to upload them on Panoramio to document remarkable landscapes, streets, buildings and monuments and increase my geotagged photos. I don’t care if many of these pictures don’t look as awesome as my best shots, because the aim here is different. I only try to respect few parameters: the pictures must be HDR and must be selected for Google Earth. I always use HDR (even if sometime I also use black and white HDR) since my purpose is to show what I do and not only to fill the map with any kind of pictures. If a shot is not selected for Google Earth I remove it from Panoramio, because, as I said, the aim is to have photos on Google services available to any users and not only Panoramio ones.
When the service was created, there were not so many pictures on it and the selection wasn’t that hard since Google needed tons of pictures to fill the map. Now that any city is full of pictures, you may find the selection less easy to pass.
To make your shots be selected you should now try to avoid these elements because they are usually not accepted:
The policy, as you can guess, is pretty easy and even perceptible. They only accept shots which can clearly document places with no copyright or privacy abuse. They will not cancel your images from Panoramio, but they will exclude them from Google services. You can ask for a second review, and I advise you to do that, but if your shot is not selected after a second review, it will not be visible on the map.
Less perceptible in my opinion is the decision to give priority to the oldest and most viewed shots in the map. When you open Google Maps and choose photos to be visible, you will notice you can see many icons on the map itself. Clicking one of them will show the image you chose and the name of the author and clicking it again will enlarge it to fill your window. Since there are tons of pictures on the map, there is a selection even on the ones you can see from a higher position and the ones you can see only with very closed up view of a city or even only on full window browser. We can compare this with SEO positioning with the difference that for Google SEO old is not (always) better while for Google Maps it seems that old is (almost) always better.
In my opinion this doesn’t make sense for a couple of reasons. Fisrt of all, Google should aim to have many pictures showing what there is on any place on earth and since we can assume that some changes have happened here and there, old pictures may not represent reality as it is right now. Secondly, since recent pictures have passed a more accurate selection, they are surely safer and more appropriate.
For who want to see my page on Panoramio here’s the link to my shots: http://www.panoramio.com/user/6808223