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Google have recently announced their new Phototours feature.
The comparisons with Photosynth are obvious but the transition between images is far soother than Photosynth and it combines images from multiple users based on geolocation
I wish Photosynth was able to create such a good result.
I like the slight animation rotating one image before the transition to another.
Is it just me or are these phototours completely non-interactive? They are essentially videos made using similar tech as here. I found myself wanting to zoom in, pan and explore and all I get is pause / unpause. Looking under the covers they are single images and a JSON payload describing the images depth data. WebGL doing the animation. No reason why these shouldn't be interactive, limited resolution though.
I was Amused to see that I could only get it to run on crome as it needs webGL and even firefox for me was denied access. You don't need a plugin like flash or silverlight, instead you need a very specific browser, may as well be an app.
To make Photosynth top this we need the ability to link multiple synths or panos together to create a tour. I would suggest a HTML5 version that works across all browsers and devices would be a nice aim too :)
"Photo Tours" is actually terminology predating Photosynth. I originally heard Noah Snavely, Steve Seitz, and Rick Szeliski use the term with Noah's 'Photo Tourism' project at the University of Washington http://vimeo.com/30584674 (which was the inspiration for Photosynth), but it may have been used even before that.
While Microsoft Live Labs invited Noah and Steve over to Microsoft via Rick to work on Photosynth ( http://www.uwtv.org/video/player.aspx?mediaid=1573065633 | http://vimeo.com/20618987 ) , Noah and Steve did also talk to other academics and tech companies, including Google ( http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5778605234686979545# ).
Google purchased Panoramio around the same time and the next year Panoramio's 'Look Around' feature ( http://blog.panoramio.com/2008/06/hi-look-around.html ) was introduced and later grew into Google Maps Street View's 'User Photos' ( http://bit.ly/uphistory ) which has seen development over the past half decade.
I hate to sound like a broken record, but if you want a look at where Photosynth and Bing Maps are headed in the future, keep tabs on Bing's upcoming Read/Write World project. There haven't been any announcements yet in 2012, but they talked publicly about it all during 2011.
I've collected every public talk that I know of at http://bit.ly/readwriteworld
They, too, are using WebGL (as well as CSS3:3D Transforms, HTML5 Canvas, and possibly even Silverlight 5 for browsers like Internet Explorer which don't yet support WebGL).
As to transitions between images being far smoother than Photosynth, I guess all I can say is that you've probably only used Photosynth's Silverlight viewer, which is nowhere near as smooth as the original 2006/2008 Direct3D Photosynth viewer. Hopefully moving to WebGL, Silverlight 5, and CSS3:3D (all of which use your computer's GPU like Direct3D) should result in smoother graphics.