Google Buys Geo-Photo Platform Panoramio; Aims For Off-line Apps

Google has been active on the acquisition trail and in product launches this week. The search site announced the planned acquisition Alicante, Spain-based Panoramio, which lets users store photographs online together with geographic data to create place-based documentaries. Panoramio had already been offered via Google Earth on a third-party basis. Now Google “will incorporate that website, its underlying technology, its content, developers, and user community into the Google Geo product mix”. The site was launched in October 2005 and claims over four million monthly users. The acquisition fee has not yet been disclosed. (FAQ).

Google Maps earlier this week added street-level photographic views to selected cities, while Google Images switched on a facial recognition algorithm and, responding to European Union concerns over its data retention policy, a Google general counsel admitted its terms and conditions were too vague (BBC News).

And, at its Developers Day, Google unveiled an experimental, open-source set of Javascript APIs, Google Gears, it hopes developers will use to write a new wave of web applications that work offline as well as while connected to the internet.