In December, Google added the Geographic Web layer which contains three sub-layers:
Best of Google Earth Community – a sample of some of the best placemarks around the world
Panoramio – geotagged photos from the free photo service Panoramio
WikiPedia – placemarks of notable places written about in the Wikipedia which have been georeferenced.
There was an update on Monday to the layers and I suspect all of these layers have had many additions (I’m waiting for confirmation from Google on what was updated). Eduardo Manchón of Panoramio has blogged that they delivered nearly one million photos for the layer update on Monday. He says most of those made it into the update. This is really significant for two reasons: 1) there is a very fast growing collection of world-wide photo perspectives being made readily available through Google Earth; and 2) Panoramio is growing at an amazing pace since being added to the layer! When the layer was first added there were only 80,000 photos in December. Now, just 4 months later, nearly a million. Imagine where it will be by the end of the summer…
So, if you are browsing the world and need more information about interesting places, I highly recommend turning on the Geographic Web layer. The Panoramio photos in particular are particularly useful for letting you get a perspective on what people have seen in the area you are viewing. I’m looking forward to planning my next trip and using this as a way to make sure I see the best things.