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I imagine this may be very different from the starting days.
It's still to allow people to capture the important places in their life in 3D. That term "3D" has meant different things at different times in the history of Photosynth -- but we've always striven to make an experience that gives you more of a sense of being there than a photo or a video can.
@PhotosynthTeam. Thanks for the response.
What was the reason for Photosynth to become part of the Bing division?
Is Photosynth more specifically part of Bing Maps? If so, then why?
Joscelin, just for context, the applied research group where Photosynth was born was called Microsoft Live Labs, whose mission it was to accelerate the movement of cutting edge technology from Microsoft Research into Microsoft product groups and more specifically onto the Internet. http://bit.ly/livelabsmanifesto
Bear in mind that this was early 2006 http://bit.ly/livelabsstory when 'Bing' was called 'Live Search' and that Live Labs' original URL was labs.live.com whereas live search was just live.com.
Now compare this to labs.google.com and google.com and you'll see that if Live Labs had been founded after June of 2009 when Live was rebranded Bing that they would have been called Bing Labs (much to their chagrin, I'm sure).
I believe that Live Search and Windows Live was all run out of the old MSN division, who also founded the Virtual Earth product group (who would become Bing Maps) as an outlet for MSR's Virtual Earth research team. This was a natural fit.
As Photosynth neared release in 2008, they moved from being part of Live Labs to being their own product team under the roof of Virtual Earth (who, in turn was under the roof of MSN at the time). See the last paragraph in this archived Photosynth page on Live Labs' site: http://bit.ly/psfutures
There have been several management reorganizations in Microsoft since then, but although I knew that there was a 'new' division in Microsoft Online Services Division to do with mobile and mapping that Blaise headed up for a couple years before he left http://bit.ly/msodmam and although David has been listed as "Principal Program Manager for Bing Mobile’s Augmented Reality Team" as far back as April of 2011 and more recently as "Principal Program Manager, Augmented Reality" on Channel 9's video interview and "Principal Program Manager, Immersive Imagery" on his LinkedIn profile, it's not entirely clear to me how this team relates to the Bing Maps team these days.
Thanks Nate for the contribution. I hope David is going to add something to this. As you may derive from other conversations I have started, I am dxxxn worried. One may be the first, one may be the best, it is no guarantee for success, as history documents.
Experimenting with promoting travel related businesses over the last 2 years, I find myself forced to turn to Google more and more, according to market position reality. The crazy thing is, that my insights in how to go about this where originally fueled by Photosynth.
I see now Joscelin -- your question is more about Photosynth's value to Microsoft, not its value to photographers, right?
The answer is twofold. First, we contribute key technology that gets used in very mainstream Microsoft products: case in point is the spherical panorama capture, display, and file format work that shipped as part of the main Camera app in Windows 8.1 tablets.
Secondly, we contribute important imagery to Microsoft products -- currently Maps and Bing. You'll see a lot more of this in the future.
This 'strategy' topic relates to the tactical topic on 'gamification'