panorama madness

Super pleased by the reception of the Photosynth app.  We’ve blown through a million downloads, and we’re five stars now in the appstore, with about 900 ratings in the first four days:

Fatjack1 writes, “AmaZing / My head asplode!”  “Holy Sh*t!” adds Alphawolf333.  “Unbelievable / Would easily pay for this”, writes Chil1swaggtapejuic3, which is surely the highest compliment in the software business these days.. especially when Banjokeith quantifies, “Easily worth $5”!  It’s funny how Apple, of all companies, has done more to commoditize the software business than the Free Software Foundation ever did.  Makes me a bit nostalgic.  Guess there’s no point to cracking software anymore when the killerest of apps, fruit of countless hours of passion, skill, creativity and lost sleep, cost less than a caffe latte.

Snark aside, I’m feeling very proud of the team, and it makes me very happy that we’ve made something people are in love with.  I’m especially chuffed to see many users (and panoramas being shared) outside the US.


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7 Responses to panorama madness

  1. Eric Picard says:

    Blaise – I love Photosynth – I’ve been a long-time user (ericpicard), and I miss working with the team. But it drives me nuts that you guys aren’t building a Windows Phone 7 App. I bought my WP7 after leaving Microsoft, and I get no Bing Mobile apps with all the cool stuff your team is building. What’s up?

  2. caseyl says:

    Given this hugely positive reaction, Scoble’s review on iTunes is just bizzare. Looking at his history as a reviewer is interesting. Either 1 star or 5 stars. Who reviews like that? He’d have a sh*t reputation as a reviewer on Amazon. I’d expect more from someone of his stature. With this kind of knee-jerk behavior he’s just adding to the noise on the web.

    Kudos on an awesome app by the way.

  3. Sam Choi says:

    Average five stars from over 900 users is absolutely incredible and rarely happens. I think you guys have single handedly convinced over a million Apple fans that Microsoft is still cool, which is not an easy task these days.

    Just wondering – Will there be any updates or new features in the future? Also, will the Photosynth app for other platforms (WinPhone and/or Android) be identical to this current one for iOS?

  4. G. Pfister says:

    amazing is user who can get so much detail from his iphone:

  5. theCake says:

    Wow. I knew Photosynth since a while and the first time I got an iPhone in my hands I tried the app. Just now I tried Photosynth on the iPad 2 and it’ already really cool to view panorams on the big screen, but you should optimize it for iPad soon! And how about sending panoramas via email?
    I’m really looking forward to the Mango update and, of course, Photosynth for Windows Phone x)

  6. Mary Branscombe says:

    Eric & Sam; maybe read Blaise’s previous post where there’s a full explanation in the section ‘Why no Windows Phone 7?’ ;-) which I gloss as ‘wait for native camera access in Mango’ ;-)

  7. jan Hagelskamp says:

    Dear Blaise Aguera Y Arecas,

    first of all i have to apologize my english. I´m from germany and so sometimes my sentences are not in the right grammar.
    I follow your project from the time of your presentation at TED. It struck me, because it had a lot in common with an idea of mine. Maybe it would be something, you can at to photosynth, if you like it. The idea was first discribed under the influence of Google, but it makes even more sence with photosynth.
    It would be great, if you can send me an feedack on this.


    Jan Hagelskamp

    Google Earth History
    After the Google Earth Software was published on the Internet and became a striking success, I noticed that this software made many basic features available, which were necessary for an idea I have carried around with me for a couple of years.
Actually, the idea is connected to a question that many of us have asked ourselves: You are walking on 5th Avenue in New York and wondering how this street looked 20, 50 or 100 years ago. Of course you can look up photos in relevant books or magazines and obtain a certain impression of how life was at a certain point in time in this place. But wouldn’t it be great to be able to transform this impression and create a detailed picture; to be able to literally see more and truly visualize your impression?
In addition to the one or two photos which can be found in old magazines or in history books, there must be other historical documentation, which can assist in creating the picture. Surely, you can look at movie documentation, but mostly the specific place that you are interested in, is only briefly shown – or not shown at all.
So let us stick with the example of 5th Avenue, New York. A place which has existed for more almost 100 years in its current form; which means something to almost every person in the western world; and which has been visited by a vast number of people at least once. As tourists like to do, they photograph the places they visit to show family and friends, where they have been. It is safe to assume that 5th Avenue is one of the places on Earth, which is most incessantly photographed by a large number of people. What a pity that all these photos are brought back to their owners’ home countries, and thus spread all over the world. The final resting place of these photos is mostly a photo album, a dusty box in the attic, or – in this digital age – a hard disk or a CD-Rom.
The sum of all these photos of 5th Avenue would probably form a breathtaking historical view of this street: millions of pictures documenting all small and large changes throughout decades, pictures of well-known people visiting the avenue, events which happened here, the rise and the deterioration of different buildings. This collection of documents resembles traveling back in time in a way, that nobody has ever done before.
If the owners of all photos would run their pictures through a scanner or make already digitalized photos available to the general public, you would quickly obtain an unusual diversity of photo documents. Especially, you would gain a multitude of different pictures of well-known places like the implied 5th Avenue.

Once more we’ll look at an example: assuming I have a color photo from September 1994 taken on the corner of 5th Avenue and 23rd Street in New York City on which you can see e.g. the Empire State Building. I scan the photo into my computer and use the appropriate import function from Google Earth. Thus, the scan of my photograph is saved on a Google server.
With the 3-D view of my Google Earth program I can now head for the corner of 5th Avenue and 23rd Street. On the exact location, where I took my picture in the real world in 1994, I now save the photo in the program’s virtual space.
If many other Google Earth users would do the same thing with their photos, we would slowly have a collection of pictures from 5th Avenue. All other users now have the possibility of viewing all saved photos. So, if another user saves a photo of 5th Avenue and 28th Street, all I will have to do is to virtually move five streets north and position myself behind the digitally stored picture in order to view it.
Of course, we would soon have chaotic conditions if enough people upload their pictures of 5th Avenue to the Google server: One has a photo from December 1980, another person a photo from June 1982, the third a very recent photo from 2006. All these photos will be saved geographically correct in the Google Earth program, but content-wise they will not fit together at all in such a chronologically un-sorted manner.
Therefore, the program Google Earth would have to contain a new function: the depiction of the fourth dimension, time. In short, before you save a picture from June 1971 in the correct virtual place in Google Earth, you will also have to set the correct time, i.e. June 1971.
In reverse, for the viewer this means that he will have to select from which time in history, he wants to see photos of the chosen 3-D surroundings, before he views the pictures in the Google Earth 3-D world.
    So, what is it all for? Just as Wikipedia to this day has proven very impressively, that the accumulation of individual persons’ knowledge on the Internet in sum constitutes a high value of total knowledge, so this collection would form a library of historical documents. Again we will remain with the 5th Avenue example: with a sufficiently large collection of photos the viewer has the option of looking at the street from different perspectives AND from different points in time, which may even be many years apart. History has probably never bee so easy to observe. 
    In the end maybe he sees himself taking his photo in September 1994 while somebody other shot a photo with me in the picture. Strange, isn´t it?

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