Microsoft’s new “Synth”-esizer stiches together photos

August 21, 2008

(Update – adds video of Photosynth demo)

If you’re snap-happy with your digital camera, Microsoft thinks it has the Web site for you. Microsoft Photosynth is a new, free photo service that stiches together pictures (preferably lots of them) of a place or a thing to create a 360-degree visual experience. You can zoom in and out smoothly, pan left and right, up and over.

Here’s the description of how Photosynth works from the Microsoft press release.

“Photosynth analyzes each photo for similarities to the others, and uses that data to estimate where a photo was taken. It then re-creates the environment and uses that as a canvas on which to display the photos.”

To get started, you’ll need to download a software application. Sorry Mac fans, it’s PC-only for now. David Gedye, a Microsoft group manager who leads the PhotoSynth team, assured me that the Windows-only situation is only temporary.

Once you have the Photosynth application, it’s pretty self-explanatory. Upload the pictures and let the “synth” begin. I found that you have to take LOTS of pictures to create a good synth, which probably explains why Microsoft is providing 20 gigabytes of storage for users.

Microsoft expects the service to be a big hit for photo enthusiasts. It also expects to see professional applications for real estate agents or retailers who want to show buyers a complete view of some new product.

The Web site works on Internet Explorer and Firefox. The quality of your Photosynth experience depends on network speed (don’t bother if you have dial-up) and how powerful your computer is.

Here’s the lame “synth” I did inside my office:

A better example is this one of the Taj Mahal using pictures from National Geographic:

Update – Here’s the video I shot of Gedye taking me through the demo. (And yes, I know he is zooming in on the U.S. Constitution and not the Declaration of Independence. Cut the guy a break, he’s originally from Australia.)


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I’ve had fun in the past with these software programs before. THey are easy to use. I can’t wait to get going and put some of my travel photos together.

Posted by Richie M | Report as abusive


Posted by jeff | Report as abusive