Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Places where you and your friends have been: Geo-tagging your Social Pictures

Sharing your pictures with your friends is an important part of your social activities, and a killer application for Facebook. Anyway, I thought that something was missing for that feature. During a recent journey to Ibiza, I said to myself: "Hey it would be cool to see the pictures of my friends who have been in this place before?" So I went to Facebook and was looking for a way to search the places where me and my friends have been.

Surprisingly enough, that feature was not there. I said "uh! let's change that". So I work for Microsoft, but I also like to play with other players' API during some off-work long night programming sessions. I said: "maybe I can create a mash up using Bing Maps and Facebook API. Let's start with something simple and map the face of my friends over a Bing Map". That worked and was fast to implement.

So I involved my old-friend Mario Veri and exposed the idea: "Why don't we let the user tag their own images and show them on a map?", which he liked. I said to him: "we will just spend couple of hours per night but let's make it and let's change what is missing in Facebook". So, we worked for a week or so late at night with the target of having the first PROTOTYPE (a beta!) before the F8 conference. A lot of strawberries (for me),  coffees (for mario) and code written we are now happy to introduce to

An image is worth a thousand words, and an image with the correct geographical context is probably worth more! What can you do with picplacer? Let's see:

You can load your facebook albums, select a specific picture, and associate this picture with a geographical place. runs on the top of giants' shoulders and will search the appropriate information from Facebook and Bing on your behalf.

You can drag and drop the picture so that you will fine tune the position of the image in the map. You can even zoom in and out according to your needs.

You can see what you have shared on facebook and tagged in Picplacer for the whole world or for a specific geographical area

And we are actively working for adding the possibility to show the public pictures that your Social friends have shared for a specific place. But this will probably require another week of work late at night with strawberries and coffees (we already have that information and we know how to use it).

Send more coffees, strawberries and suggestions if you want to see more or if you have an opinion. We are going to add that missing search feature in Facebook and allow you and your friends to search and see the places where you have been.

Antonio & Mario

DISCLAIMER: Antonio works for Bing Microsoft in London and Mario is an ex-student of mine. Picplacer is a mashup that me and Mario have developed just for fun and is not rappresenting any official Microsoft or Facebook initiative. It's something we made just for fun and for our own pleasure to experiment with fast prototyping and making an impact. That's it.

NOTE: you probably have seen something similar with Footprint for Android,  Photos for Iphone, and Panoramio or Flicker on the web. Anyway, those are apps or web sites for mapping pictures on a map but there is no Social aspect there (where are your Social friends?) and they are not running on Facebook the place where you already are sharing your own images. We just wanted to connect the dots...

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