1000 Monkeys Clicking Cameras

A resurgance once again in the local press about the wisdom, or lack of it, in crowds. I’ve posted here about this a little, and that was added to very eloquently by Chris Saad of Particle who pointed out that media is additive. There is place for both wise crowds and smart people. So what more to add to the debate? Well I was sufficiently impressed by the differences and the power of both Google Streets and Microsoft Lives Photo Synth to want to contrast them here in this context.What’s interesting about this when it comes to the Crowds Vs. Expert debate is that both do a similar thing — street level perspectives of our world, yet they tackle the problem in different ways.Googles view of the world in Google Streets is high quality, “expert” imagery taken presumably from a car with a special camera and then stitched together. Microsofts PhotoSynth uses Flickr (or presumably any photo source with a sufficiently high level of detail) to locate photos as “points” in space, pulling the wisdom of crowds to give us a point by point overview of the object in question.Both give a very different view of the world. Googles is a seamless experience, where you can browse from one end of the street to the other, rotate and view in any direction. Microsofts points give an eerie overview of the object, with detail highlighted where it’s of interest and gaps where there is nothing that is worthy.Both are amazing pieces of technology, regardless of their respective perspectives on the world.Ultimately the power of the new web is the power of information — with Google Streets, users will be able to not only tag their favourite restauraunt, but also show a picture of its front door. Photosynth enables a virtual tour of buildings and places and provides context to endless Flickr photos, not just on a map, but in space as well.Crowds and experts live will together in the new world and more fool the journalist who tries to seperate the two. To paraphrase Chris once more, the long tail of information means that there are consumers for all views of the world.As Elias pointed out on my last post, evidence of the semantic web is emerging all around us.