Google has announced that the popular photo-sharing gallery, Panoramio, will cease uploading new images on 4th November 2016 and will be permanently switched off twelve months later. The announcement stated:
"In response to your feedback, we postponed these plans and worked to add features to Maps that better support the level of engagement that you have enjoyed with Panoramio. Today, with photo upload tools in Google Maps and our Local Guides program, we are providing easy ways for you to share your photos with an active and growing community. As such, we’ve decided to move forward with closing down Panoramio. To make this transition easier, we’ll provide several options to continue sharing photos through other services."
My Panoramio gallery page
I like Google Maps, it provides a valuable service and is a great way to get involved in improving and adding entries in my localities on Maps - but it does nothing to quell my discontent that Panoramio is being shut down by Google, to be "replaced" by Google Maps.
Maps does not provide an upgraded photo-sharing site, it provides a different stand-alone facility - with an incomparable function - and tosses out a long-standing community of users who made a huge contribution to Google's success on Panoramio and Google Earth.
Back in June 2015, Google promised:
"So today, after listening to community feedback about the future of the platform, we’re pleased to let you know that there won’t be any immediate changes to Panoramio. Instead of aligning the community with Views, we’ve gone back to the drawing board to work on a more integrated solution that supports you and your content directly within Google Maps. We’ll be taking the necessary time to get this right as we build a solution that strives to meet the majority of your needs. Thanks for your input, and for your patience in the year ahead".
Following this statement, there was complete silence from Google. Even the Google Panoramio Forum moderators were not consulted.
Does the new Maps support the level of engagement that you have enjoyed with Panoramio"? No.
Did Google listen to the community? No.
Did they build a solution that meets the majority of Panoramio needs? No.
For all its undoubted merit, Google Maps meets NONE of the needs of the Panoramio community, which is now facing closure in three weeks time.
One of my Panoramio image pages.
Panoramio is a photo-sharing community with groups, user photo galleries, tags, favourite photographers, comments on photos and interactions between photographers, the facilities to like or favourite an image, editable titles and descriptions, hyperlinks, slideshow galleries. Its photos enhance Google Earth and its API facilities are used by businesses world wide. These needs and facilities have not found their way into Google Maps and the promise of an integrated Panoramio/Maps "solution" was just smoke and mirrors .
The "transition" from Panoramio to Google Maps now offered by Google is very disappointing and unnecessary and I watch with sadness as my friends who are Panoramio users lose their trust in Google, say farewell to long-standing friends and shut up shop, even in advance of the closure, to head off to other more friendly (non-Google) photo-sharing communities.
I shall enjoy contributing to Google Maps but I will always resent what Google has done to Panoramio and the deceptive way they went about doing it.
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