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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