REDMOND, Wash. — May 7, 2009 — Microsoft Corp. today announced updates to its Photosynth technology that enable commercial use through integration with Microsoft Virtual Earth. The Photosynth integration into Virtual Earth signifies the first release designed to enable businesses to use Photosynth in commercial applications.
Photosynth software analyzes digital photographs and generates a 3-D model by “stitching” the photos together. These models, or “synths,” can now be viewed using Silverlight technology across multiple platforms. Virtual Earth brings together features, functionality and content that help consumers, businesses, citizens and governments bring location to life. It helps businesses and governments share location-based information, build better connections with consumers or citizens, and helps organizations make better operational decisions. With the integration of Photosynth into Virtual Earth customers will be able to create detailed 3-D views of anything from places to products and from hotels to homes.
“The integration of Microsoft Photosynth into Virtual Earth marks an important step in enabling businesses to use Photosynth in a relevant, customer-friendly way,” said Jeff Kelisky, general manager, Mapping and Local Search at Microsoft. “With the integrated capabilities of Photosynth and recently added Silverlight API, our Virtual Earth partners have great tools for creating, sharing, viewing and embedding synths across multiple platforms, and building engaging experiences.”
The commercial update includes new controls that enable users to decide where and how they share synths by making synths public or unlisted on http://www.photosynth.net. This allows organizations to manage the availability and access to synths, giving greater control over the visual representation of their places and premises. Synths can now include user-defined highlights to showcase key images and greatly improve navigation.
Customers and partners are already seeing the benefits of Photosynth and Virtual Earth with examples now live from organizations and businesses as diverse as NASA and VisitBrighton in the United Kingdom.
“This stunning collection of photographs using Microsoft Photosynth interactive 3-D imaging technology provides people around the world with an exciting new way to explore the International Space Station and learn about NASA’s upcoming Mars Science Laboratory mission,” said S. Pete Worden, director of NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. “This collaboration with Microsoft offers the public the opportunity to participate in future exploration using this innovative technology.”
Other examples of customers include VisitBrighton, a tourism business in the U.K., facilitated by New Mind Internet Consultancy Ltd., a U.K. partner that has embraced the technology. VisitBrighton recognized the potential of Photosynth both to businesses and visitors to Brighton. Together VisitBrighton and New Mind have been able to offer potential visitors detailed visual information about attractions to encourage people to visit the city. For businesses there is the opportunity to show specific assets to potential visitors, which can put them one step ahead of their competitors.
Potential applications of the new offering may include these:
Real estate. Showing homebuyers the inside and outside of properties with interactive views
Tourism and hospitality. Giving an early 3-D and interactive view of hotels, resorts or cities
Retail. Enabling customers to see the insides of branches and stores, and browse products in great detail
Media and entertainment. Allowing media companies to create and share visual projects in a controlled environment, and build compelling campaigns and programs with new media
Public sector. Giving citizens rich detail on public services, buildings, land use and more
Internal business use. Using unlisted synths for location-based information, such as insurance risk assessment and claim processing
The video that accompanies today’s announcement and customer showcases of Photosynth and Virtual Earth can be viewed at the Virtual Earth Web site.
About Microsoft Virtual Earth
The Virtual Earth platform is Microsoft’s next-generation integrated set of powerful online mapping and search services that offer a variety of capabilities, including unique bird’s-eye view,* three-dimensional imagery, and aerial and satellite imagery. The Virtual Earth platform also powers a variety of consumer, enterprise and government applications that enable people to discover and explore a specific location. Virtual Earth powers Live Search Maps, Microsoft’s online local search and mapping Web site. More information about the Virtual Earth platform is available at http://www.microsoft.com/virtualearth/default.mspx.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
*Bird’s eye view and 3-D view are available in many metropolitan areas.
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