Tag Archives: geolocation

33 Fun Things to Do With Your Photos Online

Now that you’ve got yourself a digital camera, what can you do with all those wonderful photos? Here’s a list to get you started:

Organize and share them:

These services allow you to upload your photos, share them with friends and family, tag them, make slideshows and send them out for printing:

FlickrFlickr – Owned by Yahoo!, Flickr offers both free and premium services. You can tag your photos, add comments to any part of an image, create sets, collections, slideshows, print out photobooks, postcards, snapshots, etc.


ZooomrZoomr – Think Flickr, but map centric. Zooomr offers nice photo storage functions, closely integrated with geotagging (placing your photos on a world map) and e-commerce (selling your photos) functions.


SmugMugSmugMug – SmugMug is a wonderful website for storing your images. It’s fast, well supported, and offers plenty of sharing options, including making photos private and password-protecting them. There’s even a special offer for Yahoo Photos customers who are looking for a place to store their now orphaned images.


PhotobucketPhotobucket – Photobucket also offers tons of features including easy options to share your images online (particularly useful for bloggers and photographers sharing their photos in online discussions)


Shutterfly – Primarily a photo-printing business, Shutterfly also lets you store your photos, create photobooks, postcards, share your photos, etc.

Fix them:

These services will let you upload your photos and edit them online. Useful if you don’t have an image editor on your computer, or when you need to quickly edit a photo while at a cybercafe.

PicnikPicnik – I was impressed by this one. Picnik will even let you play with their software without creating an account (Scrapblog will too), a clever way to let you try Picnik without forking over your personal information. Slick looking, fast and powerful. Worth trying, even if just for fun.


LookWowLookWow – Java-based online photo editor. Will let you apply effects to an image, undo, compare and save.


SnipshotSnipshot – Another really good looking online photo editor. Not as powerful as Picnik, but worth trying.


PhixrPhixr – Has a nice set of tools, but took forever to load.

Create:

MyPictrMyPictr – Quickly create image thumbnails for online social networks. Upload your photo, crop the area you want to keep (usually your face), choose the network you need your photo for and MyPictr will spit out your image in the proper size and format.


QuickThumbnailQuick Thumbnail – Great when you need to quickly resize an image. A useful feature will resize your image to several sizes at once (i.e., 25%, 50%, 75%)


ePassportPhotoePassportPhoto – The Internet equivalent to a passport photo booth, it will format your picture so that it can be printed and cut into six passport-ready photos. No more paying $8 for 19 cents worth of prints. Make sure your photo is passport-worthy before uploading.


BigHugeLabsBigHugeLabs – Do almost anything with your Flickr images. Calendars, frames, print-out projects… too many to list.

Fun:

ScrapblogScrapblog – Online scrap books. A wonderful service by my Miami friends. You can give Scrapblog a try without creating an account (you can create an account later and recover your trial project). Connects directly to your Flickr account, so using your existing images is very easy. Amazing flash-based interface will leave you wondering what else is possible on the Internet. Let your inner Martha Stewart run wild.


Spell with FlickrSpell with flickr – A fun service that will turn any word into its Flickr image letters.


PhotagiousPhotagious – Online Slideshows, themes, editing, text, unlimited uploads. Should probably be listed under “Organize and share them” but their slideshow functions are in a league of their own.


RiyaRiya – Although it’s been transformed into a “visual search engine,” you can still access their original image storage and sharing service. Riya’s technology will let you search for items containing similar items to a reference image. It will also let you identify a person in an image and find additional images where that person appears.


PikiStripsPikiStrips – Turn any image or images into comic strips, with text balloons and special effects. Look through the earlier examples uploaded into the system for the better quality stuff. It seems the latest ones are mostly people making gang signs.

Map Them:

You don’t need a GPS to map your images online, though one certainly helps. These services will let you identify the geographical place where each image was taken and show them on a map.

PanoramaBuilder Build panoramic images by stitching together your photos. Now you can pan around a place as if you were (almost) there.

3cim Virtual ToursVirtual Panorama Tours on Google Maps – A list of panoramic images overlaid on Google Maps. Mostly used for real estate.


PanoramioPanoramio – Map centric photo storage and sharing. Geotag your photos, correct photos others have wrongly placed. Panoramio photos are regularly uploaded to Google Earth so that other Google Earth viewers can see them by activating the Panoramio layer.

Make real stuff:

Your digital images don’t need to stay trapped inside your computer (or the Internets’ tubes). Make books, posters, postcards… almost anything you want with these links:

MpixMpix – Photobooks, Cards, Magazine covers, greeting cards, calendars, bookwrap, tickets, puzzles and statuettes (these last ones you HAVE to see… worth every cringe-inducing penny!)


QOOPQOOP – Photobooks, postcards, mugs, stickers, canvas prints, mini photobooks, shirts, hoodies, mousepads, calendars, greeting cards, etc., directly from your photo storage account. Works with most popular photo storage sites.


FlattenMeFlatenme – Create customized children’s books with your little rascal’s image in place of the book’s hero or heroine.


RasterbatorThe Rasterbator – An application which creates rasterized versions of images. The rasterized images can be printed and assembled into enormous (or smaller, if you prefer) posters. See website for details.

Improve your technique:

Microsoft Research Group ShotMicrosoft Research Group Shot – MSR Group Shot helps you create a perfect group photo out of a series of group photos. With Group Shot you can select your favorite parts in each shot of the series and Group Shot will automatically build a composite image. Erase someone in the background, fix faces with eyes closed, etc.


Fascinating! Content Aware Image Resizing – An amazing image resizing algorithm. Watch the video and rest easily knowing that the scientist behind is already working with Adobe on the next Photoshop.

Improve your photos with classical artImprove your photography with classical art – An interesting technique that uses traditional classical paintings to correct the light and color of your photographs.


Automator Actions: Photoshop Automator Actions v3.5 – If you’ve got a Mac and Photoshop, these scripts might make your photo-editing life a bit easier.

Manage your digital images on your computer:

These programs will help you manage your entire photo library on your PC or Mac. Most will allow you to do minor editing, cropping, resizing, color correcting and printing. Easily upload your images to your favorite online photo storage service.

PicasaPicasa – PC/Linux photo management, also includes online photo sharing for anyone with a Gmail account.


iPhotoiPhoto – Mac photo management. If you’ve got a recent Mac, then you have iPhoto installed already.


Apple Aperture – Professional photo management for Mac.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom – Professional photo management for Mac and PC.

Updates:

2007/10/01: Make that 34 Fun Things to Do With Your Photos Online. Abhiram Sarat of flauntR sent me an email highlighting their quite promising online photo apps:

flauntRflauntR one-click effects – Online photo editing and effects. Includes uploading from your computer or flickr account and is nice enough to include sample images to play with. You can try out the apps (currently PhotostylR and PhotoeditR, soon PhotoprintR) without registering.

Geotagging photos with Garmin’s GPSMAP296

If you’re using a Garmin GPSMAP296 to track your outings in order to geotag your photos later on, you should be aware of the following “feature”:

Once you Save the Active Track to a Saved Track, ALL TIMING INFORMATION WILL BE LOST. This is by design (and has been confirmed by Garmin Tech Support), as the 296 will condense and optimize the information in the Active Track before saving it to a Saved Track.

Without any timing information, you won’t be able to cross-reference your photos with your GPS track for geotagging.

Using Garmin’s MapSource software I noticed that timing information is included in the Active Track (which will show up as ACTIVE LOG xxx inside MapSource).

Once I figure out how to condense the ACTIVE LOG files into a single one and save them as a single track file, I’ll post a tutorial.

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Blogged with Flock

Google’s Flickr Killer – Part 2

This is a follow up to my post: Google’s Flickr Killer.

As I’ve already mentioned, a photo organizing and editing tool that runs on your computer (and not over the web) -such as Picasa- is an integral part of the equation. If I could upload straight from Picasa into Flickr, I would use my Flickr account ten times more than I do now. Since I’m using a beta version of Picasa Web Albums, I can upload directly into Google’s own web-based photo storing and sharing service. But, convenient as it is, it’s still no Flickr (or smugmug or photobucket).

These are some of the features which, in my opinion, will permit Google to turn Picasa Web Albums into the next, best Flickr:

  1. More storage space. How about unlimited? The current 250MB is laughable, and the only upgrade option is to 6GB.
  2. Direct linking to images, at several sizes. This would allow users to link to their images from their websites, blogs or forum posts.
  3. Tags. It should be easier to tag photos within Picasa and these tags should replicate in Picasa Web Albums. Tags make organizing photos easy and fun, and make it much easier to find similar information from other users.
  4. Geotags. Come on, Google..! Google Maps/Earth + Picasa + AdSense = Why isn’t this happening quicker?
  5. A powerful API. An API would allow users and companies to offer third-party services, add-ons and tools beyond Google’s imagination or capabilities. Map tools, printing services, backup services, blog galleries, mosaics, games, t-shirts/purses/mugs, avatars… you name it, someone will come up with it.
  6. Add-supported, revenue-shared. Google could use the AdSense network to advertise on user’s galleries and photos based on the tags used (or use an image-analysis algorithm to extract relevant information from each photo). Beyond a certain number of hits, Google would share the advertising revenue with the photo’s owner (via Google Checkout, of course).
  7. Comments and notes. Visitors should be able to comment on each photo, ala Flickr.
  8. RSS feeds. RSS-everything: tags, users, comments…
  9. Better GMail and Blogger integration. (Currently I can only post four images at a time to Blogger and can’t BCC: on my emails). Ideally, Picasa would allow posting to any blog (WordPress, for instance) the way Flickr does. Publish-by-email would be nice as well (send your photos to a predefined secret email, and have them appear on your photogallery and blog).
  10. And of course… Google Search for all my images.

The funny thing is, Google has already implemented these ideas in one or many of its services. So, what is taking them so long to tie them together into a killer photo storage and sharing web service?

Do you have more suggestions for Google? Post them in the comments to this article.

And Google, I’m available for hire… in case you want to boost Picasa Web Albums into hyperdrive.

Contact me through this form:

[CONTACT-FORM]

Google’s Flickr Killer

… or why Yahoo needs to buy a desktop photo managing app, pronto.

I’ve been using Flickr for a while now – I even have a Pro account (I previously used smugmug). I also use Picasa to manage my photos (having tried several versions of Adobe’s Photoshop Album). I like Picasa’s simplicity, instant image fix-ups, and Gmail integration (for major alterations, I use Photoshop CS2). However, getting images into my Flickr account is a major operation. I can use Flickr’s Upload Tool to store my images on Flickr, but I usually like to crop, color-correct or otherwise fix my photos before showing them. So after fixing them in Picasa, I must export them to a new folder, which I must then upload to Flickr.

Ideally, Picasa would upload to Flickr, making tagging, editing and arranging files a breeze. I doubt Google will do that, though (Picasa doesn’t even upload to third-party blogs, limiting itself to Google’s own Blogger service).

Google has been recently testing an online photo storage and album service: Picasa Web Albums. While it’s still no Flickr, its integration with Picasa is a killer feature and Yahoo/Flickr should take notice. I expect it will eventually integrate with Google Maps/Earth for geotagging, and Checkout for selling your photos, among other Google services. Once Picasa Web is out of beta there really shouldn’t be any reason for Picasa users to keep using Flickr. We all know how long Google’s betas last, so there’s still time for Yahoo to catch-up, but the ball is certainly flying out of the stadium.

Comment in you have any suggestions on which software Yahoo should buy.

Google Media

Google Media
How Google will change the way you experience music, television and media in general.

Google, Google, everywhere

It seems you can find Google just about anywhere these days. Internet search? Check. Satellite mapping? Check. Photos? Check. Online shopping? Check and check. Advertising? Check. Web analytics? Check. Finance? Check. Video? Check. Music and television? Err, not yet, but the battle plans have been drawn.

Google has been quietly getting ready to bring the power of its brand and technology to the way you experience music, television and media in general. A simple search through Google’s job boards will display several openings for programmers, technicians and project managers for their video-on-demand, set-top box and media integration projects.

From the web to your television

Google has the equipment and expertise necessary to set up a massive media distribution and tracking network, integrated into their existing search and advertising technologies.

With the release of Google Finance, Google has unveiled a simple, information-rich interface that readily lends itself to other areas, such as music and television. Imagine having all of your favorite show’s news, postings, ratings, reviews and episode guides at your fingertips. Create your very own programming guide, including not only your favorite shows, movies and music but also, why not, your favorite ads. Quickly vote on your favorite shows, buy merchandise and share your opinion with other viewers. It’s all possible in Google’s universe.

I’ve made a simple mock-up of what Google’s TV dashboard could look like (click on the image to open the full-sized, commented drawing on Flickr):

Google TV (clip 150KB)

This dashboard would give the user access to the whole Google Media experience. News about the current show (via Google News), recording (via Google PVR – someday), user comments (via Google Groups), slideshows (via Picasa), scheduling (via Google Calendar), etc. Everything about your favorite shows at your fingertips.

Google is also making inroads into the set-top box business, hoping to bring television straight into your television (whether it’s in your living room or your mobile phone). With the right connections into your home, Google could use their massive disk arrays to create a huge, universal digital video recorder, giving you access to every show on television (or at least to those shows the local networks allow you to watch). There would be no need to be home in time for a show or to remember to schedule your video recorder… they’d all be online, waiting for the correct password or payment to send it your way.

Bringing it all together

There are still some areas where Google lacks the experience to properly pull this off, but they seem to be hard at work at filling most of these voids.

Searching within video and music files (allowing you to search for particular dialogue, images or sounds within audio and video files) and online transactions (allowing you to pay or get paid for buying or experiencing content) are some of the areas Google has been actively working on (though some argue that search within compressed media files is not possible). Others, such as ratings analysis (necessary for tracking a show’s popularity and establishing value) should readily evolve from Google’s vast experience with search result placement and web analytics.

If successful, Google will offer the viewer an integral, enjoyable and information-rich media experience. Hey, they may even get you to watch the commercials. Not bad for a newcomer.

UPDATE: This article was updated on September 28, 2006 to include the Google Dashboard graphics, which hadn’t been uploaded to the server when the original article was published.