Panoramio Look Around in Google Earth

Google has released yet another new feature for Google Maps Street View. It automatically shows you relevant Panoramio photos for a given location (assuming there are photos available for that location) while viewing Street View imagery. Read the post for examples. Unfortunately, the feature isn’t available for Google Earth. I think the new release is a by-product of the Panoramio “Look Around” feature which came out last spring.
Since Google Earth didn’t get the new feature, I got to thinking how you would go about implementing something like it in Google Earth. What suddenly occurred to me is that with GE 5, we might be able to run Panoramio Look Arounds right in a GE placemark window. So, I gave it a try. Sure enough, without too much effort, you can view a Look Around in a placemark. I’ve suggested to Google they could come up with a network link that would automatically show Look Around placemarks, and improve the application so it runs well in placemarks. I think it would be a powerful new way to look at Panoramio photos. Powerful enough to be its own layer I think – or maybe a sub-layer to the Panoramio layer. To see one in action, I’m using a Panoramio Look Around for the Empire State Building in Google Earth. Load this KML file and open the “Empire State Building” placemark. Then play with the Look Around interface to see the photos. Cool huh?

Panoramio Look Around from within Google Earth 5

NOTE: The current Panoramio Look Around application was not intended for use this way. Some of the UI features don’t fit very well in a placemark window. You may have to open your GE window larger (and more square) to see the UI better. I’ve sent an E-mail to Google’s Panoramio team suggesting they make a new layer or KML network link to view Look Arounds this way. It would be really handy I think. Here is the original Look Around for the Empire State Building.

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.


  1. Smart move on Google’s part! Moves the privacy issue focus onto the people taking the pics instead of Google Street View.

  2. I would not want to supposed placements to be shown using the look-around feature. the simple reason is that few people are accurate in their geotagging. I too often see haphazard placement that even goes beyond simple guessing. The most common problem is making the placement on the subject of the photo, not the position the camera was in to take the shot. It is so easy to get a cheap GPS and tag photos with something like GPicSync, but again, few are willing to make the simple effort.

  3. Frank, I’ve requested the same feature in Google Maps to Google this morning, by filling this form.

  4. It isn’t working for me. The popup just contains a jigsaw puzzle piece icon in the middle. I assume that means my GE is missing something. Any ideas?

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