Photosynth Release Makes A Big Impression

    August 21, 2008
    Chris Crum

Back in 2006 at the Web 2.0 Summit, Microsoft showed off it’s cool new Photosynth program. They didn’t release it to the public, but they let attendees get a lick of what was in store, and left many of those who experienced it with a good taste in their mouths. Yesterday, they released it to the public as a service.

Microsoft’s Live Labs developed Photosynth using its own SeaDragon technology. The service allows the user to upload images and then fuses them together to make 3D environments that you can navigate in a format similar to the Street View feature on Google Maps. They’re providing users with 20GB of free space for images.

A great piece of technology!

The release has opened to mixed reviews. The biggest complaint is that the service is so far only compatible with PCs and not with Macs. This morning a Twitterer pointed out the error message it displays: "Unfortunately, we’re not cool enough to run on your OS yet".

Most who actually get to use it, however, seem fairly impressed. "Photosynth is a great piece of tech. I’d be willing to pay up to $1000 for a standalone app I can grab pointcloud data from," says another Twitterer.

NASA and National Geographic are among those who have had the pleasure of testing it and have uploaded some pretty impressive projects. These showcase the possibilities of using Photosynth in a pretty cool way.

National Geographic on Photosynth

NASA on photosynth

An Entirely New Medium

Microsoft touts synths (the resulting products of using Photosynth) as "an entirely new medium" encouraging users to share experiences, tell stories, form communities, and educate or archive. Check out Microsoft’s release for more details on these aspects of Photosynth.

Photosynth is obviously in its early stages, and Microsoft has big plans for its future. "Following this release, the Photosynth team will join MSN – an important step in continuing to improve Photosynth and share the experience with an even wider audience," the company says. "Over the next year Photosynth will begin to become a key part of the experience for MSN’s 550 million monthly visitors worldwide. Synths will be prominently featured on"

It should be interesting to see where Microsoft goes with this. Perhaps they should incorporate synths into their new Seinfeld ad campaign. For more on the creation of Photosynth, PCWorld has a video interview with the co-creator.