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November 6, 2008 4:42 PM
Posted by Benjamin J. Romano
Photosynth, the Microsoft software that arranges photo sets in their real-world, 3-D context and allows people to navigate them smoothly, has been added to the company's Live Search Maps service, as planned.
You simply search for a location and then click on "Explore Collections" in the menu on the left side of the map. The service allows you to chose collections associated with your map search: tags, photos, 3D models, MapCruncher layers and now Photosynths, which appear as pushpins on the map.
You can launch the Photosynths by clicking on the pushpin or on the menu of results that appears on the left side. It sends you to Photosynth.net, where you'd need to download a lightweight piece of software to view the synths.
Synths that are geotagged get indexed into Live Search Maps. More details on this Microsoft Live Search Maps blog.
Here's some of the strategy behind this move, from my story in August, when Photosynth was released to the masses:
A user can take down his or her synths at any time, but Microsoft keeps the calculations and analyses it performs to create the three-dimensional framework of the real world that underpins Photosynth.
That points to one likely direction for Photosynth. The team will be folded into Microsoft's Virtual Earth mapping group later this year. Both Microsoft and competitor Google are working on better ways to expand their online mapping tools into three dimensions.
Photosynth is a natural fit for that, [Alex Daley, Live Labs group product manager] said.
"We get this great sort of trellis of the world's places," he said. Later, that information can be used to improve local advertising and local search, among other things.
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