Windows Live PhotoZoom Alpha: Silverlight powers new Microsoft Live Labs project

There’s a new project brewing in Microsoft Live Labs, Windows Live PhotoZoom.  This alpha project from Ray Ozzie’s Concept Development Team is Silverlight based and allows seamless zoom controls on consumer photos in a web based application. PhotoZoom also makes use of the Photosynth / Seadragon technology developed by Live Labs, which most recently has been seen in the Photosynth collections released by the BBC. While you may not yet be able to recreate the BBC’s work, PhotoZoom is another step towards this.

According to Matt Augustine of the PhotoZoom team, “PhotoZoom is an experimental site that brings the zooming capabilities first shown during the Silverlight demos in the Mix07 keynote to consumer photography.” Note that the currently available alpha/beta builds of Silverlight do not feature the zooming feature that is required for PhotoZoom, so the timeline for this Live Labs project being released is dependent on when this Silverlight update becomes public.

Though not yet released, at a basic level PhotoZoom will allow users to add photos via an upload tool or import from an RSS/Atom feed. These can then be viewed as thumbnails or at their full resolution.  Once processing by the server is complete, the zooming functionality is enabled.

We’ve created a short video of the zooming in action just to give you some idea how smooth and quick it is, apologies for the poor resolution, unfortunately screencapture programs didn’t do the transitions justice. We’ll see if we can work something better out.

Windows Live PhotoZoom Alpha video demo
Windows Live PhotoZoom Alpha video demo

As always we’ll let you know when PhotoZoom is available. In the meantime, check out the great stuff going on with the BBC and Photosynth.