Do you have an idea for an awesome feature we should add… or hate the way we’re currently doing something? Share your ideas and suggestions here.
Watching Twitter today, I watched Robert Scoble compare a pano made with the new Photosynth mobile panorama app and Occipital's mobile panorama app from the same location.
Since the app had no default 'Share to Twitter' functionality, he came to the Photosynth site, manually copied the default 'view page' URL, and pasted it into a tweet.
Here is his tweet: http://twitter.com/Scobleizer/status/60101923818307584
Here is his synth: http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=87865b64-0638-4366-b10f-08bfeb9cb8e6
This is a reasonable action for an end user to take, however it currently takes even iOS users who have the Photosynth app installed to a Silverlight installation page (which does them no good as no browser plugin will ever be allowed by Apple).
Completely by chance, I came across Steve Glenner's tweet: http://twitter.com/SteveGlenner/status/60122480551006208
Steve pointed out to Robert that by using a link to the pano created by the Photosynth app, that other people using iOS would have the pano autolaunched in the app and people using a Mac or Windows computer would see the normal view page.
iOS Photosynth link:
Normal Photosynth link:
So to sum up: if people follow Steve's link (generated by the mobile app), mobile users see the pano in the app and desktop users see the pano in the Silverlight viewer. My entire point is that this should just be happening from the default page, so that normal desktop users can hand out URLs like normal and have mobile users automatically open the pano in their dedicated app.
I had a similar discussion with Greg Pascale about iSynth a couple of years ago:
While, we're at it, I know that the mobile Photosynth app doesn't allow users to shoot synths, but only panos, but I still feel that the iSynth code should be rolled into the Photosynth app, so that if someone with an iPhone or iPad 2 comes to http://photosynth.net/, they will have a viewer launched for them whenever they navigate to either a pano or a synth and only ever need to install the one app. There are a few things which should be updated such as synths having access to the full resolution photos, rather than just thumbnails, but I really want synth viewing as well as pano viewing baked into a single Photosynth mobile app and I would like it to automatically launch on the normal Photosynth URLs.
There was another thought that I had, which was that the mobile URLs seem to be iOS specific. What happens when there are multiple mobile clients?
If you have each mobile client handing out unique URLs which launch only the app on their OS (what I mean is links to panos from iPhones and iPads only open the iPhone or iPad app, rather than the Windows Phone app or the Android or BlackBerry apps which will someday exist), then it is a mess. The one central view page here on the Photosynth site, should just be able to detect what OS the browser loading the page is running and hand back the appropriate response: on any mobile device, launch that operating system's app, and for desktop users, load the normal page with the Silverlight viewer.
It needs to be central, rather than each app for itself.
There is logic within the page handler at the iphotosynth.cloudapp.net page which can deal with multiple mobile clients. Right now, it actually just pushes the browser back a URI which will launch the app if installed, it is not necessarily iOS specific. It is just that iOS is the first platform where this has been rolled out.
Thanks for the clarification, Steve.
My hope is that this page handler's behavior will be wrapped into the normal view page at some point in the (hopefully not too distant) future. Is that correct, or will there always be a separate URL for mobile devices?
I would hope that at a minimum, a [View this pano on iOS] button could be added to the view page's aspx form.
I've had two thoughts recently:
If the view page started using embed.aspx for the viewer and if the embed.aspx page contained the page handler code, then this would solve every page on the Photosynth site as well as every synth embedded around the web. Nice and clean. You would tap on the embedded synth in the same way that you click an MP4 and Quicktime launches. In our case, naturally, the viewer would launch as with your current iphotosynth.cloudapp.net links, thus allowing mobile users to use the rest of the site (read comments, etc) if they wish and view the pano at their leisure.
The other idea that I had which requires less work, conceivably, (but is also less universally effective) is to edit the explore.aspx, search.aspx, and userprofilepage.aspx pages on the site to all link to the page handler for all panos. This would allow iOS users to browse the site and view any pano. I'm not sure how to keep them from clicking through to synths, though.
As far as viewing other people's panoramas, for over a year now, iOS users have been able to use a prototype HTML5 viewer in Safari to view others' work:
Windows Phone users do not yet have access to this as Mobile Internet Explorer 9 does not support CSS3's 3D Transforms, however Internet Explorer 10 in Windows 8 and Mobile Internet Explorer 10 in Windows Phone 8 will support that piece of CSS3 and so should be able to render panoramas in HTML5 as well.