Fotopedia launches the collaborative photo encyclopedia

First launched to private beta in September, 2008, as Fotonauts, Fotopedia is building the largest collection of premium images linked by topics, context, and affinities, the company claims. During the first three months of private beta, the site displayed 30 million photos.

"After traveling the world, I wanted to share my photos with others. Flickr and other photo sites give you exposure for only a brief window in time, and adding photos to Wikipedia proved too complicated for the average user," sys Jean-Marie Hullot, founder, Fotopedia. "This sparked the idea for a ‘Wikipedia of photos’ — that combines the permanence and community collaboration of Wikipedia with the ease of use of consumer desktop applications."

Fotopedia creates a complete ecosystem around the pictures, regardless of where they are stored or hosted. Users select their topic and can instantly begin searching and selecting the best pictures on Flickr, Picasa, personal storage and more. Users then populate their page with useful and relevant information, including Google maps and Wikipedia articles, to bring greater context to the images.

"Fotopedia is a great example of how Creative Commons licenses and properly marked user generated content can allow a commercial service to provide benefits to users, amateurs and professionals and contribute to the solution to one of the most difficult problems on the Internet: image search, by making the tagging and curation of photographs easy and fun," says Joi Ito, Fotopedia board member and CEO of Creative Commons.