Bing@TED: awesome!

The maps feature on Microsoft’s search products has always had a bit of an edge over Google maps. It wasn’t all good, but the 3D map view was always more realistic compared to competitors, the Bird’s Eye view still remains unique and if you see what they presented at TED a few hours ago… friggin awesome. The Flickr integration, the … I don’t know where to start. Seriously, check this out.

Oh, and Blaise – I’m a fan since you presented Photosynth at Microsft’s internal MGX event a few years ago. You rock!

More on the Bing TED presentation is here.

Mindgoggling

This is how the Urban Dictionary defines this: “(adj) something that is so baffling only goggles could understand”. I suppose that is how you got to think of Google Goggles, a mobile tool that allows you to take a picture of something to get instant search results based on the content of the picture. Sounds cool, check this out.

It did remind me of a Microsoft project I read & blogged about 3 years ago, a side project of Photosynth at that time. They talked about a very similar tool but don’t remember hearing from this after that.

photosynthmobile

Question to ask the Photosynth guys maybe? Or Steve, maybe you know (can find out)?

Mighty cool!

It’s not the first time I blogged about Photosynth but what can I say, it keeps impressing me over and over. Here’s a new video created by the University of Washington of a Photosynth they’ve created of the old city of Dubrovnik based on pictures of the city found on Flickr. Just take a look and you’ll agree with me, this is mighty cool. New York anyone?

{Hat tip Steve Clayton]

TechFest ‘09

Microsoft Research is currently having it’s annual gathering in Redmond, showing the world some of the latest projects they’ve been working on – TechFest 2009.

“TechFest is an annual event that brings researchers from Microsoft Research’s labs around the world to Redmond to share their latest work with Microsoft product teams. Attendees experience some of the freshest, most innovative technologies emerging from Microsoft’s research efforts. The event provides a forum in which product teams and researchers can discuss the novel work occurring in the labs, thereby encouraging effective technology transfer into Microsoft products.”

Basically a lot of geekery, but worth watching. One of the projects that was shown yesterday which I found rather cool is panoramic video stitching software – Qik meets Photosynth as TechCrunch calls it (although it’s probably more Qik meets ICE* but anyway). Check out their video:

*ICE is short for Image Composite Editor, an advanced panoramic image stitcher which is also coming from Microsoft Research and worth a look on its own (free download).

The point cloud

This is so cool, it’s not the first time I’ve written about Photosynth but while I was playing with this new Silverlight viewer for Photosynth I got a little into this ‘point cloud’ views and again, must say that this really is awesome.

So I’m looking at this Photosynth (196 photos and 98% synthy – so a good one) and look at one of the photos in the collection:

synth1

We’ve all seen that right? ;) Then if we press ‘P’ we switch the viewer to this point cloud mode resulting in:

synth

And that – and this is the really cool part – will enable you to look at these objects from an angle that you actually don’t have photos of like this:

synth3

Yes Photosynth remains one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. Go check it out for yourself.

Photosynth: it’s here!

I can’t count the number of times I’ve written about Photosynth anymore, but trust me when I say the number of times I wanted to say even more is even bigger. I remember how the first reactions (the oohs and aahs) were quickly followed by questions about the computing power that would be needed to create synths your own. Well, we’ve been having access (I work for Microsoft) to the tool that allows you to create your own Synths for a while and yes your personal computer will do just fine. And since yesterday, you can all give it a try for yourself (only on Windows for the moment though).

Synther

Explore the nicest Synths right here or start creating your own right away. Here’s how to do it. Read more about this fascinating technology on the Photosynth blog, or read some of the reviews that are popping up: Mossberg, Scoble, Webware, O’Reilly Radar, …

Photo tourism: stunning!

Remember Photosynth? About 2 years ago Microsoft Live Labs release the tech preview of Photosynth and I hasn’t lost any bit of coolness ever since. It was presented at TED Talks by Blaise Aguera y Arcas (together with SeaDragon) and is one of the most watched videos of the complete TED video collection (which on itself is pretty awesome already). Watch that first if you haven’t done so already.

Long Zheng at istartedsomething.com reports on a new 3D photoviewer that was created by Microsoft Research and the University of Washington:

“The collaborative research team from the University of Washington and Microsoft Research who only two years ago in 2006 published their paper “Photo Tourism” and their technology demonstration “Photosynth” have again pushed the boundaries of what can be achieved by intuitively processing the abundance of digital images shared on the web. This week at SIGGRAPH 2008 they’re sharing with the world some even better technology they’ve been working on which they call “Finding Paths through the World’s Photos“. Don’t let the name fool you, it’s damn cool. If you’re not much of a reading person like me, take a look at this video demonstration.”

Here’s the video, pretty stunning indeed: