Photobucket, a site that serves up photos, videos and graphics for 35 million users a month, is allowing users to tag photos across multiple social networks.
Tagging, a feature common in social networking sites, lets users attach associative words with a person or object. A searcher using a site that enables tagging may find a person by entering his or her alma mater, nickname or other descriptors.
Photobucket previously let users search via photo headlines, but the tagging feature, which started Nov. 8, lets users tag up to 20 names and links in one photo. The people who view the photos can see the tags, click on links and find more photos with the same tags on Photobuckets site.
The jewel of this technology is that the tagged photos may be rendered on other sites, so if a photo has been tagged, the links travel with the photo, the company said in a statement.
When someone views the tagged photo on Photobucket—or another Flash-enabled site—they can mouse over the photo to see the link and the tag, or click on the photo to go to the associated link.
Moreover, users can import e-mail contacts from their accounts, so if friends are tagged in a photo, they will immediately receive an e-mail from that Photobucket user, notifying them that theyve been tagged in a photo.
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Adding links and labels to the photos in tags also improves the search experience for users looking for Photobucket content from Photobucket.com, or the popular Google, MSN, Yahoo and Ask search engines.
Photo tagging may seem like a small feature in the grand scheme of things, but the concept points to a broader philosophy that social networking sites are embracing: allowing users to be found on, or participate in, several socially oriented sites.
For example, Photobucket has formatted its site to let users link any Photobucket album to the owners MySpace profile. Google Nov. 1 introduced software to let programmers write applications that will work on several social networking sites.
This practice breaches the walled-off atmospheres of todays social networking sites, where users are free to roam throughout the walled garden but not venture outside of Eden.
Photobuckets enhancements are a sign the company is in its second stage of life since it was acquired by News Corp.s Fox Interactive Media July 9. Like MySpace under FIM, Photobucket operates as a stand-alone company.
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