French hacker Benjamin Netter recently released a cool hack called Somewhere, an addictive jukebox machine for travel destinations using Instagram, Foursquare and Wikipedia data — the most impressive part of this simple hack is that people are spending 13 minutes on average on the website.
“While working on Tripovore, I realized that Instagram pictures were much better than professional photos to feel the atmosphere of a place” Netter told me. “I thought that it would be incredible to travel through other people’s eyes.”
Then, his script will automatically crawl around 150 Instagram pictures from this particular location. Thanks to a facial recognition algorithm, the script excludes selfies — selfies represent a good chunk of the photos taken from these beautiful places. After that, all Netter has to do is to pick a picture.
Somewhere uses both Foursquare and Wikipedia to respectively attach a map and pull a description.
While coding Somewhere, Netter realized that Instagram’s database had gotten very big. In fact, you can use Instagram as a big data platform to draw useful conclusions. For example, if you look at the most popular locations on Instagram in the past seven days, you will find the most touristic places in the world.
But the beauty of Somewhere lies in its jukebox aspect. The big blue ‘somewhere else’ button will refresh the page and take you to another city, landscape or building — it’s very addictive. There’s no business model or long term goal — Somewhere is just a dream-inducing time sink that was coded on the side.