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mar 06 2009

Google and Flickr are each showing travel images in fresh ways

Two Web tools got small, but nifty, enhancements in the past few weeks.

Google's Street View feature has let users of Google Maps view stitched-together, ground-level imagery of several cities worldwide since May 2007. But Google's specially equipped camera vans only capture major landmarks from a limited perspective. So beginning last week, Google began adding photos submitted by users of the photo-sharing site Panoramio (which is particularly popular among Europeans). The result is a richer way of exploring major destinations.

For example, if you go to maps.google.com and search on Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France, you'll see a Street View image of the Cathedral in the main screen. Look to the right of the screen for a subset image that's captioned "User Photos." Click, and you'll be taken to a photo gallery of images of the landmark. Alternatively, travel to Rome virtually by clicking on the photo gallery, here.

Meanwhile, Flickr, Yahoo's photo-sharing service, has created a fun time-waster for people who'd like to see images of what's happening around the world in ordinary people's lives. For free, the Flickr Clock presents along a timeline a list of user-uploaded photos filmed around the world. Click on 10:10 a.m., for instance, and a window will expand to show a short video taken at that moment. I recently saw Japanese schoolkids marvel at falling snow from their perch in a skyscraper and a happy scuba diver off the coast of Fiji admire a giant sea-bass. Viewing the clock is free at flickr.com/explore/clock. Non-paying members will receive two free video uploads per month, which can be uploaded to the Clock pool of images.*

*(This post was republished at 2:25 p.m to clarify Flickr upload rules.)

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.


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