Flickr hitting five billion photos is interesting for a couple of reasons.
The first is that I’m sure not everyone on Flickr has organized their pictures which means a lot of unorganized, untagged photos. Sure you can tag them, but most folks aren’t interested in spending a lot of time telling the computer what’s in the photo, they’re more interested in sharing. I would like my tags to align to sets but hey, I’m a bit obsessive about organizing things. (I also just realized that they dropped the 3 sets maximum for a standard account)
It also means that digital photography has replaced the shoebox full of physical photos. Yes, not a new thing, but the volume of photos being taken, captured and uploaded to not only Flickr, but Tumblr, Facebook, Photobucket (despite their pisspoor terms of service and inconsistent management of “violations” which can’t be explained) and elsewhere are at least double that. The search engine that can manage that information across multiple sharing sites and does it intelligently (no, Google isn’t doing that right now) will be a big player.
Another big piece of the puzzle that interests me the most is whether or not people are getting better at taking photos. If one could look at the 3000 photos a minute that are uploaded, I suspect that we’d see that a lot of people have gotten better at taking photographs. Maybe some have taken courses, or actively sought out instruction (online or in person) how to take better pictures, but most have just gotten better because they’ve done it more or received some feedback on a picture that people liked and did more of that (whatever that is). I guess the five trillion words that the five billion photos are worth would make for some decent instruction on how to take a good photo.