Back in 2006, Microsoft introduced a new way to view pictures with photosynth - an application that converts photographs into explorable 3D environments. Since then, the application has received numerous updates with today being one of the biggest updates to the application since its launch.
Microsoft announced today via the Bing blog that photosynth has been updated with four new features - spin, panorama, walk and wall. As the names imply, these are all new features focused on creating more realistic 3D environments that let users explore in a variety of ways.
For starters, spin lets you view a single object from all corners as if you were walking in a circle around it. Here's an example:
The second feature - panorama - emulates the experience of standing in the middle of an area and being able to see everything around you. Here's an example:
The third feature - walk - is most similar to something you'd see in Streetview or Streetside. In essence, it allows you to emulate the experience of walking down a street. Here's an example:
The final feature - wall - emulates the experience of viewing a scene from the side and slowly walking sideways. Here's an example:
As you can see, Photosynth isn't perfect yet as it's still painfully obvious that it's just stitching together photos to give the illusion of movement. Despite these imperfections, it's still an incredible achievement for photo technology. In fact, Microsoft is so confident in photosynth that it hired David Brashears to create a photosynth of his ascent up Mt. Everest. Check it out:Bing Blog]