I've sat down a couple of times and brainstormed over what is the future of panos and panography. I've jotted down thoughts about the history, the current state and have tried to figure out where we are going next. What's funny is that these "little" activities will typically start to fill one, then two plus pages in my notebook. There's just so much that could be said.
But I think that all of my thoughts, notes and ramblings could be cut down to a simple, and maybe over generalized idea...
In the past, panos (and by association "virtual tours") were things that were stuck onto a website for visitors to see AFTER they had found the site via some other means (i.e. search engine). It was an "Easter egg" of sorts... something that was nice to have but rarely seen as a necessity.
In the future though, panos (and similar location based visual media) will be the "hooks" that users will find and follow to the destination site. Text based searching will give way to map based exploration (when dealing with location specific information)... and online users will dive down and visually explore a location... and then make a decision to go further (to the business/location site) or move on to the nearby place.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will be replaced by Spatial Imaging Optimization (SIO)... and at the heart of that will be panographers / virtual tour creators / photographers that can grasp the technology and leverage the growing distribution channels.
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