My friend Paul Kedrosky notes that Flickr has introduced something interesting (and here I was writing just a few posts ago that Yahoo hadn’t really done anything since buying the photo site) with its aggregated data on what cameras its registered members use. Paul (and Tim) believe that data is “the new Intel inside,” and that many companies are as valuable for the data they can aggregate — in various interesting ways — as they are for their actual services.
Paul said much the same thing about my fellow mesh organizer Mike McDerment’s company Freshbooks, which does online invoicing and time tracking for companies. Mike and his team recently introduced a feature that will aggregate the data from all of its users (more than 100,000 now) and allow them to benchmark their companies against the rest of their industry, or other industries. Valuable stuff.
Now Flickr will tell you what the hot camera is, and allow you to see which ones are climbing in popularity and which ones are dropping. Yes, it’s true that some of this data might not be correct, for a variety of reasons (as Matt Hurst notes) — and the trends could be distorted if large numbers of people remove their EXIF data before uploading, as some do — but despite those caveats it’s still worth having. And it’s a sign of what other services could do with their data.
It was possible to get the camera data from Flickr before from various places, including this site, which pulled in the EXIF data from uploaded photos, but now Flickr is providing the numbers itself, as well as some nice graphs and charts. And as Shoutblog points out, they have also linked in camera price comparison and shopping via Yahoo Shopping, which is smart.