Remember how we were once blown away by the amount of information on the web? The number of facts, rumors, discussions, and, well, the shear number of words that were generated daily?
The textual web is fascinating, but it’s yesterday’s news. The innovation now is the visual web. It’s already begun with Google Street View – you can look out the window of a virtual car on nearly every street in a metropolitan area now. Next up? PhotoSynth. We saw previews of it two years ago, but (holy smokes!) it will be real in 24 hours.
Photosynth takes overlapping photos and constructs a pseudo 3D scene out of them. More images: better scene. An agent could take 400 photos in a house and instead of virtual tours (or annoying video tours), users could walk themselves through the house.
I can only imagine it will get more powerful. Add some more horsepower and they could create scenes from video. Add some more horsepower and they could let you travel through time in a square – through all of the previous users “synths.” You’ll be able to wander off of Google’s Street View and into someone’s yard and, if they’ve uploaded photos, into their home. Creepy, but cool.
I will be very excited to use it. Once they’re “cool enough” to support my operating system. What is this, 1999?
no, you aren't
I just live in it.”
That was the line in CSI: NY last night, where Microsoft’s Photosynth was used to reconstruct the events prior to and during a crime at a high school prom. They loaded up all of the photos taken on every student’s cell phone ( a big box of them). Then they used Photosynth to timeline the victim and suspects whereabouts in the moments before the Guidance Counselor was slain. One of my clients worked on this program, so I was “tuned in” last night.
Rather than my trying to explain what Microsoft Live Labs Photosynth is, for those who didn’t see the show last night, here’s a video that Robert Scoble put up when Photosynth was the hit of the O’Reilly Web 2.0 Summit in the Fall of 2006. Here’s another great and even better video called Nasa meets Photosynth.
Another description from Wikipedia: “from Microsoft Live Labs and the University of Washington that analyzes digital photographs to build a three-dimensional point cloud of a photographed object. Pattern recognition components compare portions of images to create points, which are then compared to convert the image into a model.”
The program last night and the Nasa meets Photosynth video give some great examples of how this technology can be used. In the comments someone noted that he might be able to “watch his child grow up” by using this technolgy, and someone else referenced a marriage of Flickr and Photosynth for multiple purposes.
As a side note, I am one of those people who didn’t like Bill Gates too much, until I saw him “honored” in the eyes of a friend from India. Watching my friend speak from the standpoint of “anything is possible”, I realized what a huge role model Mr. Gates is for so many young people with dreams. When I see young people striving to become great in their own right, every single day, spurned by the idea that “everyone can be great…just like Bill Gates”, I bless Mr. Gates for his ripple effect.
Someone bought me an Apple computer…I refused to use it for six months and then gave it back. On the other hand, they are going to have to pry my iPhone from my cold dead hands…until Microsoft comes out with a replacement product 🙂