When I heard that Flickr was making announcements this evening, I assumed it was the long awaited integration of video into the service. That isn't happening (it will soon, though), but they are making significant upgrades tonight around geotagging and a new area of the site is launching called "Places Pages."
Flickr first launched geotagging for photos a year ago - to date 29 million public photos have been geotagged, with 150,000 new ones coming in each day. They aren't making any changes to the way photos are geotagged (using Yahoo maps), but they are updating the results pages for searches.
The existing pages don't show large numbers of geotagged photos effectively; the new pages do a better job by placing actual tags from photos on a world map. Users can quickly find photos based on tags and geotagged information. Enhancements to navigation are also being introduced.
Overall, the enhancements are good, but the real win here comes when devices auto tag photos via GPS devices. Until then, most users can't be bothered with taking the time to add the appropriate meta data.
Now this is more interesting. Flickr is launching "Places Pages," which are dedicated pages that provide users with specific information about places. We've uploaded an overview PDF to Scribd, here.
Pages are built around the Flickr concept of "interestingness," but based on places and tags. So China/bicycle shows popular photos of bicycles taken in China. Paris/architecture is another example. Any of 70,000 places can be viewed, optionally followed by any tag. Flickr is also adding in additional information on the place, such as weather and local time, as well as relevant Flickr groups.
The product will get better over time, too. Eventually users will be able to adjust pages by time or season, so pictures from New York in the Fall can be viewed, for example. Or pictures from a specific event that happened in a city.
Flickr now has over 1 billion photos and 37.7 million unique monthly visitors. 2.5 million news photos are uploaded daily by 15 million registered users. I wonder if founders Caterina Fake and Stewart Butterfield ever wish they hadn't sold out to Yahoo so quickly, for just a rumored $30 million or so in 2005…