Virtual Earth / PhotoSynth integration announced

Remember back last March when we told you about Virtual Earth/PhotoSynth integration via GeoSynth?  A UK blog, PocketLint, posted a story we picked up on the integration, allowing public Photosynths to be embedded in Virtual Earth maps.  Well now, according to Travel website Travolution, the new service is being announced today:

The announcement today will give website owners the ability to place PhotoSynth applications into their own embedded maps, using either their own imagery or drawing from existing photos in the PhotoSynth library.

Microsoft is hoping the new functionality will appeal to hotels and other travel destination services such as tourist boards and DMOs.

Photosynth is a cutting edge imaging system developed by Microsoft over the past two years which allows users to navigate around a location in three dimensions using a myriad of different photos.

The system has resided within the Microsoft Live Labs beta test platform until now but will now be publicly available across the web within the Virtual Earth environment.

You can hear more about the announcements on the Virtual Earth News page.  Along with the Virtual Earth integration, PhotoSynth will feature the ability to set your Synths as “unlisted”, so they will not show up in any index, the use of a Silverlight viewer, and the introduction of “highlights”, or marked places in the Synth that can be quickly accessed via a sidebar in the viewer.  The Synths can then be embedded in Virtual Earth via an iFrame, accessible through the PhotoSynth.


While the Virtual Earth integration isn’t quite the Street View killer we and Pocket Lint had envisioned as it won’t be available in Live Search Maps, it will be available for anyone using Virtual Earth, although with restrictions, according to the Travolution post:

Matthew Quinlan, group product manager for Enterprise Mapping at Microsoft, told Travolution the integration of public ‘synths’ into an existing map will be free for website owners but commercial organisations will have to pay if they go over a limit for the number of unlisted photos used.

Currently only public photos loaded into PhotoSynth system will be available for the synths, Quinlan said.

“The big barrier for taking from something like Flickr at the moment is respecting other people’s copyright,” he admitted.

More info in the Press Release.