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First there was the snapshot, and then came video. Now there is Photosynth, a new service available at photosynth.com that will change the way you experience and share photos.
You can share or relive a vacation destination or explore a distant museum or landmark. With a nothing more than digital camera and some inspiration, you can use Photosynth to transform regular digital photos into a three-dimensional, 360-degree experience. Anybody who sees your synth is put right in your shoes, sharing in your experience, with detail, clarity and scope impossible to achieve in conventional photos or videos.
Synths constitute an entirely new visual medium. Photosynth analyzes each photo for similarities to the others, and uses that data to build a model of where the photos were taken. It then re-creates the environment and uses that as a canvas on which to display the photos.
Photosynth requires a viewer (a browser plug-in) and the Photosynth application for creation of synths.
The photsynth site is apparently overwhelmed at this point, but you can see a fun photosynth demo [ted.com] of this from the 2007 TED conference.
I'm sort of an image afficianado, so take this with a grain of salt, but for me in terms of interface this is the biggest thing to hit the web since hyperlinks and as for its search aspect, it appears to be phenomenal.
Unfortunately, we're not cool enough to run on your OS yet. We really wish we had a version of Photosynth that worked cross platform, but for now it only runs on Windows.
Trust us, as soon as we have a Mac version ready, it will be up and available on our site.
It's a price sensitivity issue I imagine - it would add at least $80 to each camera. You can get camera-specific GPS/card reader that works with any camera - slip in the card and it uses the EXIF timestamp tags to match photos with coordinates and then fills in the EXIF long/lat fields. You can get these for less than $100. And you can get ones for many SLRs for a couple hundred dollars that will add coordinates to EXIF when the photo gets saved (not sure what it does for RAW images).