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.)