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This is a killer technology with great potential. An obvious "business" application is viewing rooms in a Bed & Breakfast, etc. My recommendation based on 35+ years of product development is that the current browsing UI is a little too non-intuitive and (in particular) disorienting for the average non-tech user who might be browsing looking for a B&B, etc. I'm by no means saying the UI is entirely off the mark or terrible. It's actually very impressive for a 1st offering. It's just that the non-tech user is going to find it far less usable (and therefore less likeable) than existing 360 pan capability currently in use by B&Bs (etc) from Apple(?)/Adobe(?). Picture yourself as a non-tech B&B owner deciding between Photosynth and the 360-pan technology. Also, there is great potential for tutorial use. Audio would be a great addition there. Alternately, sync'ing text to the current view.
Do you have some suggestions for the UI? The challenge is, Photosynth isn't just a 360 pan and it isn't video... with this new experience we're stuck creating a bit of a new UI.
I understand your position. I told a few photography friends about Photosynth. At the same time I felt it was necessary to explain to them that Photosynth was more like a new way of browsing pictures than a new 360 pan offering. You're going to be faced with exactly that first impression problem as something to be fought against constantly. Much of the possible disorientation can be influenced by the selection of the photos being browsed. So a tutorial on "recommendations on how to create an easy to follow presentation using Photosynth" might be worth considering. Maintaining orientation in your mind is a matter of tracking your current reference point until you've establish your new reference point, and then your mind calculating the relationship between the points. The mind jumps from fixed point to fixed point. You can tell this by watching somebody spin around. Their eyes snap from point to point. The mind discards the motion blur inbetween.
I have to say, I think the non tech B&B owner would choose photosynth. The presentation has been so straight forward, and it's so easy to create new content. It awesomely embeds in blogs... uh-oh, i hope silverlight viewer isn't going to mess up the D3d embedding.
This could be a killer technology for browsing collections of photos (i.e, a stock photo house). My application would be motorsports centric and would need the ability to imbed meta data on each image that would/could link to a more conventional metafore (think slide sorter) for use in a stock photo enviroment. Keyword searchability would be high on my personal priority list.
kburgoyne I think you raised 2 good points. First is that it's hard to explain to people what Photosynth is. We're going to work on this so that non-techie people who stumble on the site can quickly find out what Photosynth is all about.
The second good point is that our navigation can be hard to understand. We're working on it but it's a hard problem and will take some time given the size of oru small team. In the meantime there's a great new feature that can really help: highlights. If the synth author takes the time to add a few highlights for the best spots it's easy for any viewer to zoom between them through 3D space which is really fun. I highly recommend that all synthers take a few minutes and add highlights to their synths.