announced today that it will now give its commerical partners the option to mash up Virtual Earth and Photosynth to create immersive 3D photo experiences. In order to facilitate this, Microsoft also announced the availability of commercial licenses for Photosynth. These commercial licenses remove the restrictions on the number of images a user can use, for example. This could be a great solution for real estate agents, who can easily create an immersive 3D view of a house, retailers who want to give customers a close-up view of a product, or travel businesses that might want to show off a certain destination.Microsoft
While Photosynth has always been a very innovative and interesting product with a lot of potential, Microsoft seems to have finally found a good way to commercialize it as well.
What is Photosynth?
Photosynth was launched last August and allows users to automatically stitch multiple photos to create an immersive 3D experience. The service made its most prominent appearance in the mainstream media in January, when it was used by CNN to crowdsource a massive 3D view of Barack Obama's inauguration.
Thanks to Silverlight, Photosynth is Now Available for All (even Mac users)
A few weeks ago, Microsoft switched the Photosynth viewer from a browser plugin to a Silverlight application, which removed a major hurdle for the widespread use of Photosynth. This also finally opened up Photosynth for Mac users as well. Sadly, though, the Photosynth desktop client, which is needed to actually create new synths, is not available for OSX yet.
New Features: Highlights and Privacy Controls
In addition to the new player, Microsoft also recently introduced a number of other interesting features. You can now, for example, highlight key images in your synths, and Microsoft also finally introduced privacy controls, so that your synth is not always available to the public by default.
Synths on a Map
While regular end-users won't get the same benefits as Microsoft's commerical partners, Microsoft already allowed users to browse geotagged synths directly on a Virtual Earth map and Microsoft already highlights some synths in its Live Maps application.