If you’re given a million bucks to do anything you want with them, what would you do? How about a trip to all seven continents? That’s what I’d do if I had that kind of money lying around in my account. Okay, enough of day dreaming but to me, photo discovery apps are probably the next closest thing to traveling around the globe for free. Not only can I discover amazing new places, people and unseen landscapes, but I also don’t have to spend a dime to enjoy my virtual world tour. PhotoWhirl for Windows 8 is a wonderful app that uses geotagging information from popular image sharing sources like 500px, Flickr, Panoramio, Google Places and Instagram, and lets you explore new photos from not only around your vicinity, but also around any location in the world. You can use the integrated Bing maps API to browse thousands of photos shared by various photo junkies.
PhotoWhirl sports a pleasant looking user interface comprising three main sections. On the left, you’ll see the navigation control panel that lets you toggle different image sources (500px, Flickr, Panoramio and Instagram). Besides that, you can also toggle a few map options like auto-reload, force-reload and satellite view, and access photos that you have marked as favorites. The miniscule arrow button at the bottom redirects you to your current location on the map.
PhotoWhirl uses Windows 8’s native Bing maps API for all its location features. You can browse through any location around the planet, and the app will show you small image thumbnails on the map, representing pictures from that location. The available geotagged photos are also displayed in the right pane for quick access. There’s a search button at the top right corner that lets you manually hunt for images by entering custom keywords such as names of towns, villages, cities, locations, landmarks, people etc.
Clicking or tapping a photo displays the full image in a separate window. Information like the date the photo was taken or uploaded, title, uploader’s name and image source are also displayed at the top. Tapping the selected photo again expands the image to full screen view. The mini nav-bar at the bottom houses Share, Fave and Source buttons.
The share button allows you to quickly share the image’s link via Share Charm. The application generates the source URL of the photo, which you may email to your friends or family, share on twitter or post to Reddit directly, provided you have compatible Windows Store apps installed for these services. The Source button opens the original photo page on your web browser, from where you can manually copy the URL and share it with anyone you want. The Fave button adds the selected photo to your favorites.
Photos marked as favorites can be accessed from the Faved Photos panel on the left. This mini pane also allows you to clear the favorites list, view photos added as editor’s choice, or close the pane.
To sum it up, PhotoWhirl is a fascinating photo discovery app for Windows 8 and Windows RT that provides the explorer inside you with endless fun in form of images from around the world. You can download the application from Windows Store via the link provided below.