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I've seen the future and it's photos....all the way down.

Stashed in: The Web, Best PandaWhale Posts, Curation, Turtles!, Bears!, Curation, Virtual Reality!, Reverse Image Search!, @BearsActHuman, @philzcoffee

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I've been playing around with PaperKarma as an app today. It's a clever app that lets you snap a picture of some paper bulk mailing advertisements and it will figure out who you are, where the mail was sent, and contact the advertiser to take you off of their list. To do this by hand, online or offline, would be extremely time consuming and difficult. You'd have to search online to find the advertiser, figure out what service they are using, find the online Web app--if any--to remove your data and enter in your data and have it confirmed, if not calling the service directly. Nobody is going to spend a minimum of an hour doing that. At worst, it may take 60 days and hours of your time which may involve receiving an opt out form and mailing it back in after calling them.

All that activity rolled up into one little snapshot using your smartphone. So to me, I've seen the future of the Interweb and it's photos all the way down. In fact, I think every part of every process or workflow from here on out should be replaced with a photo.

You can do with a photo in a second or two anything that you can do with a Web browser, email, or SMS in minutes, hours or days.

One of my favorite legends is the following:

A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: "What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise." The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, "What is the tortoise standing on?" "You're very clever, young man, very clever," said the old lady. "But it's turtles all the way down!"

I think Web 3.0 IS NOT Semantic Webs, better search, mashable applications, service oriented clouds, or even more compliant browsers with better 3d html5-capable web browsing--IT'S PHOTOs.

Quickcodes help short circuit some of this on a micro-scale but require quickcode generation and are typically limited to a single URL visit followed up with some user interaction with a text-based Web app.

Visualization searches like Google Goggles, Image Search, and Tineye get a little further, but are limited to products, places or text extraction--the results of which steers users back into textual search land and textual Web applications.

Augmented reality is nice, but currently is limited by a fixed set of markers, no support for user generated content, very narrow shared-collaborative experiences, and is not really mashable.

Siri remind me? Get serious. Why do I need to ask for things by talking to a phone? I just take a picture and it should know my intent.

Instead of using Foursquare to check in at Philz Coffee and post a review that you really like the Tesora today, you can simply take a picture of it and hit "favorite"--everything else is done for you. No need to type, talk, contextualize, login or anything else. Instead of checking in for your flight, you could simply take a picture of the Web receipt like and have it remember to check you in 24 hours in advance so you get the best seating.

There's a million things you can do with pictures and they're worth every word. Exchanging them as information is definitely where the future is at IMHO.

There are many potential photo futures.

Facebook. Twitter. Tumblr. Pinterest. Google+. Path. Instagram.

On the other hand, I don't expect visualization search to get a lot better any time soon.

But your point is well-taken. PandaWhale needs more images.

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