I have seen some photo location-based apps but they mostly required you to have information already encoded in your photos or have you enter them in the app for it to work. Why not use what you may have already done with your photos, uploaded them with a service? So I gave Photowhirl a try out in this area covering 4 services: 500px, Flickr, Panormio and Instagram. Chances are you use one of them for your photos.
It doesn’t matter whether you use them or not since you can’t specify it to show your own images. It will show you images from your geographical location (should you choose to allow it) or any location you wish enter. You can choose which services to show and it will show a count for how many photos it has found for that service in the map view. It is neat how the photos pop into place and you can zoom in for especially dense areas of photos. It works like any other map except it has a bottom arrow. I’m not sure why it is pointed to the right, but it takes you back to your location screen.
You can choose to view the map with the satellite view as well, which makes it a little more difficult to see individual images, but I find it more interesting. You can select photos either by clicking on it on the map or using the sidebar (in order of most recent). Clicking it will produce the above view with options for sharing, adding to favorites or to see the photo in your web browser. It provides information on who took it, what they called it and on which service it is located. A cute camera icon is overlaid on each photo to match the colors for each service for easy identification.
You can see the image even larger by double-clicking. I discovered this by accident as nothing in the app indicated it was possible. You do lose the information about the photo here and you cannot save the photos. It is not unexpected as the app does not own the photos, the person who uploaded it does. However, the website may offer to download the photo, so there is that option.
As you favorite photos, they are stored as links in the app, they are not downloaded so they are easily available on whatever device you have the app for Windows 8 (not Windows Phone 8 yet apparently). It also has a selection of Editor Choice photos. It would be nice if there was a way you could suggest photos for others, I mean besides through the Share charm. I think it is missing a potential social aspect here.
I am unsure on the time-line for the photos. Are they within say a month ago or older? Most images do not have a time-stamp of any kind even at the source and unless it tells you in the title, you probably won’t know. The favorites will always stay there, but wish there was a way to pick a time period or at least knew the time frame.
Search – you can simply type to search for a new location for anywhere in the world, even Antarctica. Share – as mentioned it shares images and with many different apps. Generally speaking it will provide a link to that service and depending on the app that is sharing it, an image may or may not be provided. It is up to the app. Settings – there are none.
It does not support a snap mode, but since it makes use of a map, it really requires full screen anyway.
It also does not have a live tile.
I find it interesting to find photos around the world, yet I do not use any of the services provided in the app. This makes the app very beneficial since it provides me access to those photos easily and I don’t need an account. Those who do use the services may find it lacking (can’t locate your own photos unless happen to be visible at that time) and no integration directly with the services. It may indeed provide some updates as time goes on, but as it is now, it has a nice design language to it and can be fun to look through what people are capturing on film (er digital photography). Photowhirl is quite a colorful name and it is worth giving it a whirl, more than once.
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