Social Media

Instagram photos paired with Google Street View: a unique perspective


Instagram users opt to give away a substantial amount of information, so one college has taken that information and paired it with Google Maps to give more context to Instagram photos.


Instagram + Google Maps = The Beat

The team at the Rutgers’ social media information lab have released a new project entitled “The Beat” which overlays Instagram photos that are geotagged on top of the correlating Google Street View image. Similar to the Now iPhone app that uses Instagram photos to highlight local activities, “The Beat” unlocks recent photos, but is based on hashtags and reveals just how much information users are giving away, down to their home address.

Site visitors enter any hashtag in the search bar, be it a specific city or venue, or a broader topic like hiking or running, and the most recent photos tagged with the search term individually pop up, paired with the Google Street View based on the Instagram photo’s geotagged information. At the time of taking a photo on Instagram, users have the option to opt in or opt out of mapping each photo.

The Beat project highlights not only how much information Instagram users voluntarily make public, but actually performs a useful service by allowing anyone a unique photo glimpse into any area, nearly in real time, and does so from any computer, without requiring a download specific to any type of devices.

The Beat photo tour:






Uses for The Beat

Like other apps that are offering insight into Instagram photos, this site can be used by non-Instagram users, adding the Google Street View as an extra layer.

Users can see a recent view of what is going on in a given neighborhood, so this actually gives incentive to professionals using Instagram to document their relevant surroundings. Salon owners snapping shots not only of their salon, customers, and area, should also be snapping shots of fashion and products, using hashtags.

Overall, this project highlights the value of hashtags in Instagram, but also reveals how much information users actually give away, even their personal address, so be mindful of your own use.

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