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Apple iPhoto gets in your face

You look great. It's getting old

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Where in the world did I take that shot?

Places takes all the location information, no matter how it was acquired, and works with Google Maps to show you exactly where your photos were taken. You can choose map, satellite, or hybrid view.

For example, when you click the "i" icon in the lower-right of an Event that contains Places-enabled photos - whether those photos were geotagged by a camera or had their location information entered manually - the thumbnail will flip over, expand, and display a map with pins pointing out the photos' locations.

iPhoto '09 Places by Event

An Event, when flipped, can show you the locations of all its photos (map view)

Clicking the Places icon in the Library list turns iPhoto's main working area into a map of the world - well, if not of the entire world, then at least the parts of it where you've taken pictures. As you might expect, you can zoom and drag the map to your heart's content.

iPhoto '09 Places world map

If we ever shoot photos in China, this map will expand accordingly

Interestingly, countries are named using their native alphabets or kanji, with their English names listed below, but countries with multiple alphabets such as India have their names listed in English only.

Mousing over a Google-map pin displays a label identifying that location. Clicking on that label's arrow icons brings up all the photos associated with that location.

Alternatively, you can drill down to your desired location using Places' column view, which - much like the Finder's similar view - lets you refine your selection level by level. You don't have to enter all the stages of selection level when defining a photos location, since the database fills them in for you - a true time-saver.

iPhoto '09 Places column view

As you select a tighter location range, the number of photos displayed shrinks

Although Places is an entertaining way to organize your photos - and possibly one reason to make sure your next digicam has GPS - it's not as useful as Faces. The automatic gathering together every image of a loved one into a single Faces album is far more time-saving and potentially surprising ("I forgot taking that one of li'l Suzie Q!") than gathering every photo you have of New York City. Odds are you remember when you went to New York, and odds are those photos are already in a time-sorted Event.

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