Microsoft’s Photosynth 3D – Bing’s Leg Up On Google

I just loaded the most amazing app onto my iPhone. Microsoft’s (Bing’s) latest version of Photosynth 3D is wonderful for several reasons, but even more importantly, a potential game changer in mobile innovation. At the unveiling of this latest version TechCrunch’s Sarah Perez described the third generation Photosynth as “an immersive, and smoother 3D photo experience which gives you more of the feeling of really seeing what the camera had captured.” It’s all that and more.

Photosynth walk

Photosynth in walk mode on the desktop – iPhone operates similarly for sharing etc.

The last couple of weeks the big news on Bing Photosynth has all been about the supposed forced defection of key engineer Blaise Agüera y Arcas to Google. Blaise Agüera y Arcas, one of the main minds behind Microsoft’s Bing Maps service and Photosynth 3D, confirmed he’s working now with Google. However interesting or impactful that move may be though, what’s significant is the direction Bing is taking.

Photosynth imaging stitching technology was pretty cool when it first was released, but the latest version betrays a social-business complexity that could propel Bing’s mobile strategies far and wide. The new modes of operation; spin, panorama, walk, and wall, these can all be applied for creating a visual matrix of personal sharing… well, a stunningly visual encapsulation of our world really. When you get access to the service, the from the moment it loads in 20 seconds, to your previewing of the embryonic stages of “world share,” you’ll simply be impressed.

Click the image below, then pan and zoom.

Flight to Everest by on Photosynth

Three simple user actions make Photosynth a breeze to operate on the iPhone. The newsfeed or explore button takes you to a that world others have captured and shared in 3D and zoom-able and pan-able imagery wonder. Then the camera button sets your creation in motion. Then the user button allows for suggested share-utility functions etc. In my testing so far, the only negative is the  limitation due to “user-photographer” impatience or learning curve setbacks on some imagery, but it’s the potential that is more striking with this latest version.

What Bing and Microsoft can do with this little tool now is, not only provide a Street View-like experience in “walk” mode, but with your permission they can turn several million citizen photographers into 3D image cartographers of the world. The embed below offers a inkling of the possibility Microsoft has unearthed (pun intended) with Photosynth 3D technology.

Walk through Nokia House corridor on a cloudy day by bjorknas on Photosynth

This is why Google had to have Blaise Agüera y Arcas. Toss in the quality factor the New York Times talked about before the latest version was uncloaked, and Google probably has worse jitters than even engineer hijacking indicates.

Google MapsFor me the “what if” Stefan Weitz tweeted after the product launch at Le Web, this is the future of mapping Google had yet to figure out. Anyone who thinks Microsoft is all that far behind should pay close attention here. All those Google Street vehicles (at right) you may or may not have seen, let’s see Google drive one of those through the mall. Remember Perez’s “immersive” adjective? Imagine purchasing alternatives in this way.

Sure, making a world hologram or 3D representative clone of Earth may take Microsoft some time, but Google managed to get Google Street mapped out pretty fast. How long would it take 20 million Bing Photosynth users to collectively snap our world though? Maybe I am too far sighted and far fetched here. Sign up and load Photosynth, then you tell me.

There’s no word yet on the integration of this fabulous tool into the Windows 8.1 Camera app, but logic demands this. As for news on Google and those funny looking cars everywhere? Well, they use up too much gas and like I said, cars can’t climb Everest or eat at the sushi bar. Let’s imagine “next” again. Meanwhile, here’s another shopping experience.

Le Piti magasin – Promenade a l’interieur by wax78 on Photosynth

Image credits: Google Street View Mobile – courtesy Jeff Hester & Flickr

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