Get all your questions answered about our latest Photosynth Technical Preview.
Since you're talking about finally getting synth linking of sorts up and running (as mentioned in several videos and Joscelin's discussion of dissecting original synths to new synths) I was wondering if you had considered any gamification to encourage users to contribute overlapping and especially connecting synths.
When Noah Snavely, Kathleen Tuite (it was Kathleen's project, if I'm not mistaken, since she's a game designer), and their team were offering PhotoCity several years ago now, I was keen to use it as it was a chance to finally experiment with shooting additions to existing reconstructions (in a multi-user way, too) and to create larger reconstructions than I could fit into a single synth.
The incentive was built around earning game points for contributing photos with a high number of new points - especially on the edges of current reconstructions and there was an element of capture the flag in addition to allowing users to join four different teams.
I'm not necessarily suggesting a 1:1 duplication of their game model, but it definitely added a fun factor to adding more photos to an area.
I believe that toward the end of the game's run they allowed you to re-submit uploaded photos for processing which had not matched to the model previously without re-uploading them (say that the model had subsequently been adequately extended to the portion which they overlapped with).
For my fellow Photoysnth users who didn't look at this back when it was available, these will help you get an overview.
Kathleen's PhotoCity gameplay tutorial for context: http://youtube.com/watch?v=3En07fWjhB8&hd=1
Noah describes it a little in this talk: http://youtube.com/watch?v=opRZUMrLJOM&hd=1&t=1h2m2s (1:03:09 - 1:12:20)
Their UW project page: http://grail.cs.washington.edu/projects/photocity/
Avi Bar-Zeev talked, in his presentation at the Seattle Augmented Reality Meetup at Bravern 2 on 2011 June 29 ( http://vimeo.com/25884372 ) about the team thinking about tools for users to contribute information to Bing's system (for instance to help orient uploads on the map to hint them into position - and not only their own) using some concept of user trust and possibly combining this with some game design to encourage the more dedicated users to keep contributing.
How much this factors into the future of Photosynth (given that RWW was taken down and most of the public facing employees working on it have left Microsoft in the years since then - as well as Photosynth and RWW having been separate teams) is unclear to me but along with Andre, Joscelin, Jeremy + others over the years, I remain curious to see how you implement synth linking, especially in combination with the map.
Suggesting geotags and|or geoalignments for either the authors of synths which lack them to authorize (or the system's own image matching to verify against surrounding imagery as seen in RWW or Streetside Photos) is one such user contribution that I would be happy to be able to add, gamification or not.
(I have no doubt that the usefulness of that particular feature will diminish as more and more photos contributed have GPS information embedded in them already [especially from your upcoming mobile apps], but it is only an example.)
Absolutely great that Nate is bringing this up from these point of views!
This is related to the following other discussions.
"What are mission and vision of Photosynth today?" (Strategy)
Photosynth getting mainstream and social
Notifications for: my synth being commented, favorited, featured, + shared as well as forum replies
For those who may not be familiar, gamification refers to rewarding people with fun, scoring, ranking, or achievments for interacting in ordinary ways which motivate them to exhibit behavior you wish to encourage.
Done correctly it is a fun and meaningful means of motivation.
Done incorrectly it tends toward leaving users feeling manipulated or obstructed from their task.
If you've ever used any of Stack Exchange's websites, they feature this sort of concept heavily and have ranking paths for different types of activity/users like asking questions (will rank up your Student ranking), answering questions (will rank up your Teacher/Professor status), improving answers by adding an illustrative image, video, etc., or voting other answers as useful/correct or not.
Here's an index of Stack Exchange's sites: http://stackexchange.com/sites
Non-website examples can be seen in the videos at VW's old marketing site from a few years ago: http://www.thefuntheory.com/