Virtual Earth and Photosynth in major integration by Microsoft

Microsoft has combined its Virtual Earth and Photosynth platforms for the first time in a move to radically improve the functionality of both systems for users.


The announcement today will give website owners the ability to place Photosynth applications into their own embedded maps, using either their own imagery or drawing from existing photos in the Photosynth library.


Microsoft is hoping the new functionality will appeal to hotels and other travel destination services such as tourist boards and DMOs.


Photosynth is a cutting edge imaging system developed by Microsoft over the past two years which allows users to navigate around a location in three dimensions using a myriad of different photos.


The system has resided within the Microsoft Live Labs beta test platform until now but will now be publicly available across the web within the Virtual Earth environment.


VisitBrighton in the UK is one of the first organisations to announce an integration of the system, installing ‘synths’ for tourist hotspots such as the Brighton Pavilion.


Synths for Venice and Rome in Italy were developed by Microsoft during its prototype phase.


Matthew Quinlan, group product manager for Enterprise Mapping at Microsoft, told Travolution the integration of public ‘synths’ into an existing map will be free for website owners but commercial organisations will have to pay if they go over a limit for the number of unlisted photos used.


Currently only public photos loaded into Photosynth system will be available for the synths, Quinlan said.


“The big barrier for taking from something like Flickr at the moment is respecting other people’s copyright,” he admitted.


The Photosynth system was first showcased to wide acclaim at the TED conference in California by Microsoft’s Blaise Aguera y Arcas, co-creator of the software, in March 2007.



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* Images and video (Travolution Blog)

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