Microsoft Releases Panoramic Photo App

t’s already well known that Microsoft is giving a go at the world of smartphone development. The Windows Phone 7, the lofty ambitions of becoming the third most popular phone operating system, and a strong selection of smartphone and tablet applications (most notably the Bing apps) present a decently strong face for the company. It seems, though, that Microsoft is branching out. Their most recent development is a photo application that allows users to create three-dimensional panoramas on their iPhone.

The application, titled Photosynth, is designed to be intuitive for smartphone users. You simply take a snapshot, move your camera, and take a picture from a different angle. The application will automatically stitch the panorama together using the sections of the pictures that match as guidelines. Rather than going through the long loading/matching process that similar applications require (with the standard wait time sometimes breaching into the minutes), the Photosynth application takes only a couple seconds. The application is available for iOS and is coming to WP7 in the near future. Check out this video for more details.

Microsoft isn’t just hoping to add another successful application to the world of smartphones, however. The development ofPhotosynth is designed with social networking and local features in mind. Microsoft continues its close-knit relationship with Facebook by allowing users to post panoramic snapshots directly to Facebook. Alternatively, users can post a link to a hosted version of the image on the Microsoft Photosynth site. That site provides free hosting and allows users to explore an interactive panorama experience.

That same panoramic experience can be seen on another Microsoft property: Bing Maps. Users can post create panoramas to the Bing Maps interface, where the image will be visible for all other users. These images will also appear in the Bing Business view when searching for local venues. The timing on this particular feature is strange, with Google Street View (the easiest service to compare these panoramic uploads to) seeing legal troubles worldwide. Nevertheless, it seems to be a successful “one up” on Street View, offering users a unique way of exploring local sights while enlisting the help of the masses in getting current, appealing pictures.

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