photosynth

Photosynth is Microsoft's proprietary photo app for taking 360 degree panoramas, and although it took a long time to arrive for Windows Phone 8, the app hasn't been updated in 14 months. Yes, time flies, but tonight version 1.7 has hit the Store in a rare treat for Windows Phone users.

Version 1.7, unfortunately, does not bring any new features though it does say 'bug fixes' for a changelog. Considering the multitudes of new devices and even a brand new operating systems (Windows Phone 8.1), it's not too surprising that Photosynth could use a little polishing.

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A new page has been added to the annals of the bitter rivalry between Microsoft and Google. Blaise Agüera y Arcas, a top engineer at Microsoft, will be leaving after seven years to work on machine learning at Google. Agüera y Arcas first joined Microsoft as a software architect when his company, Seadragon Software, was acquired by them. Since that time, he has been a major player in developing Bing Maps and Microsoft's Photosynth image software.

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Microsoft's Photosynth service has been available to the public since 2010, providing the ability to create 3D models from user uploaded photographs. The service has been using what they call "point cloud recognition" to see where images may align. Today, the company has announced a new preview that brings the service leaps forward. 

Essentially, the software can now create more immersive Photosynths using four basic techniques (or what Microsoft is calling "experiences"); they are spin, panorama, walk, and wall. 

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The popular Windows Phone photography app Photosynth was updated today to version 1.6, mainly to deal with stability and performance issues.

The update addresses the camera viewfinder turning green after using Photosynth, updated the camera calibration logic to properly preserve the field of view information and improvements to auto-cropping of a flat panorama for sharing or saving images to your Pictures Hub.

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As some of you know, I’ve had the preview release of Photosynth for Windows Phone 8 since late October. The app felt and indeed looked no different than the Windows Phone 7 version although it did have Lens integration. That integration though was little more than treating the Lens as an app launcher and not really unique to the user experience.

Now in a tweet, Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore explains why the delay occurred between the version I have and the one that just came out today. The main difference is now the Lens app is a different and indeed much better experience than before. Photosynth in Lens mode is full screen whereas before it was only partial.

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The other day we were teased with some upcoming big titled Windows Phone 8 apps and we guessed at the time Photosynth would be one of those. Looks like our prediction was true as that app is now live-ish in the Windows Phone Store. We say live-ish because it’s so new that there’s a good chance you won’t be able to download it for a few hours to your phone.

Photosynth went missing with Windows Phone 8 for quite some time, even though it was thought to be one of the launch apps with the new platform. We’ve been kicking around a development release since October but it’s great to see it finalized for the masses.

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While we unfortunately can’t provide you with a download link to the Store just yet, it looks like Microsoft is finally getting ready to unleash Photosynth for Windows Phone 8. The popular 360 degree photo mesh app was noticeably absent since the new OS but the prospect of a “...any day now" re-launch always felt imminent.

The Photosynth team took to Twitter to bring the news, seemingly after some folks on Reddit made some noise about the app’s prolonged absence from the platform. The reason as it turns out was a drive issue, which caused the shipping date to head past the original time frame for launch...

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It’s no secret that here at Windows Phone Central we’ve actually been using Photosynth (www.photosynth.net) for Windows Phone 8 for a few weeks now. But that’s certainly no comfort for those of you who are eagerly waiting for the app to finally make its way to your devices.

Luckily, the team behind Photosynth is well aware of your yearning and have mentioned in a tweet that the app is now finalized and being tested--though that was a few weeks ago. Actually, to our ears that sounds like it is at least a week or two away, assuming nothing needs to be adjusted during that testing.

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Custom Hubs & Accent colors for Windows Phone 8? Yes, please.

Earlier in the day we reported that Microsoft was going through the User Voice feedback system and signing off on feature requests from end users.

In short, if a feature is being positioned to be included in Windows Phone 8.x, it gets stamped with a generic “Planned” label from the site Admin for Windows Phone. It is then followed by a comment noting “Just a quick update to let the Windows Phone community know that this feature has been announced for Windows Phone 8”.

Indeed, many of the features such as Arabic language support, NFC and 720P displays have been publicly confirmed back at the June 20th Summit, making this forum cleanup standard practice.

But out of the 22 “Planned” suggestions, three stuck out...

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While some may have thought we had forgotten about the Windows Phone Central Photosynth contest, truth be told it was down right tough picking out a winner. If my count is correct, we had eighty-eight entries submitted over at the WPCentral Forums ranging from beach scenes to mountain landscapes to concerts to even a laundry mat photosynth. There were so many fantastic entries it was tough to pick just two from the lot.

But in the end, the two photosynths that stood out are....

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Microsoft continues to flesh out their Xbox live app for those of us that have iPads. The latest update brings more of the once exclusive features of the Windows Phone Companion App to iOS users. Unlike Windows Phone, which has a combination of apps to take care of Xbox live business, the iPad rolls all the functions into one. Personally, I like it all integrated into one whole and have been a little confused as to why the Windows Phone has essentially stuck with the Xbox Hub plus the two addition apps called Xbox Companion app and Xbox LIVE Extras App.

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WPCentral's Photosynth Contest - your chance to win a Samsung Focus 2

Photosynth is a great Windows Phone app for capturing panoramic images and we want to see what you with the photography app. For motivation, we've got two Samsung Focus 2s to giveaway courtesy of AT&T.

Just go out and capture panorama images using Photosynth and post your best work here in the WPCentral discussion forums. You'll have until 5:00pm PST on Saturday, July 14th to submit your entries and from there, we'll pick the best two images to receive the AT&T Samsung Focus 2.

Now for the fine print.

  • Entries must be captured by Photosynth
  • Entries must be captured by a Windows Phone or iPhone
  • Only one entry per person
  • While you can edit the entry, do not crop the image (much like the sample above)

You'll need to register to participate and you can do that here. Once the entry period closes, we'll announce the winners as soon as we can. The last photo contest had so many fantastic entries it took a while to sort things out.

Good luck everyone and if you haven't installed Photosynth, it's a free app for your Windows Phone and you can find it here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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The other day we saw an update for Photosynth for Windows Phone get pushed out taking the app to version 1.1. We didn't know what all the update involved but today we are being told the update is mandatory or the app will stop working after June 20th.

Apparently the update was necessary to correct an oversight with the original version that was released about a month ago. Version 1.0 was released with a safety feature designed for beta tests that calls for the app to expire automatically within 30 days. Anyone running version 1.0 of Photosynth after June 20th will receive a "application expired" message and the app will shut down automatically. So, if you've been putting off the update to version 1.1 now is the time to update your copy of Photosynth.

If you haven't installed Photosynth to your Windows Phone, it's a free app that you can find here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Source: Photosynth Blog

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We'll file these under "bug fixes" but two very popular apps have just received some 1.1 love from their respective developers.

The first is Nokia's "The Dark Knight Rises" app which of course focuses on the newest Batman film due out in a few weeks. The app has a built in augmented reality scanner for playing the location-based "game" (you choose to be Bane or Batman, claim areas via checkins and then defend those spots), trailers and clips, a countdown clock and method to find theaters around you.

No word on what v1.1 fixes but it seems to load a tad faster though the app is still sluggish when swiping through. If you have a Nokia Lumia Phone, you can grab version 1.1 for free here in the Nokia Collection.

Likewise, the popular Photosynth app (see our review) managed to pick up a small update as well. No discernable changes are reported though we'll see if it still crashes on our Titan II in a bit. Once again we're betting these are minor bug fixes and optimizations to the popular photo-stitching app.

You can get Photosynth version 1.1 for all Windows Phones here in the Marketplace. Thanks, ej lee, for the tip!

    

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Windows Phone Photo Panorama Round-up

With the recent release of Microsoft's Photosynth to the Windows Phone Marketplace, there's really no excuse for anyone not to capture decent panoramic images. Photosynth joins a nice collection of in-house panorama apps and a decent third party app. But how do these panorama tools measure up against one another?

We took our handy-dandy tripod out to see if one shined brighter than the other. There's really not a bad panorama app in the lot but a few lined up a little better than others.

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When PhotoSynth for Windows Phone 7 hit the marketplace last week, we knew there would be discussions over the requirement of a gyroscope - and there was.

When users try download the app with a phone that doesn't have a gyroscope, they are presented with an error that reads "Some features in this application might not work because your phone doesn't have..gyroscope" - this does not stop the download though. Users of any 1st gen Windows Phone (HD7, Focus, Omnia 7, Trophy etc) will get this message, along with any users of a 2nd gen phone that is missing the gyroscope (most notably the Nokia Lumia 710 and 800). We don't know why the 710 and 800 do not have a gyro, but it may have simply come down to a cost-benefit decision, as the flagship 900 does have one. So what does a gryo do, and do you really need one? Read on to find out.

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Windows Phone App Review: Photosynth

Simply put, Photosynth for Windows Phone is a game changer. Photosynth is a panorama app that mocks at large group shots, laughs when there isn't enough room to back up, and smiles when a picturesque landscape is in front of the camera. The camera app opens up a new world of photography for your Windows Phone and does so rather nicely.

Unlike other panorama apps for your Windows Phone that sticks to either a vertical or horizontal plane, Photosynth can do both and handle 360 degrees of capture. No longer are you concerned if you can't back up enough to capture tall buildings in a landscape shot. No longer are you worried that you won't have enough room for a group shot.  

Throw in an online interface, the ability to share images through Facebook and Twitter, share your images through BING, embed images and upload/store/share images at Photosynth.net this little photography app is very impressive.

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We were just mentioning how Microsoft was teasing Photosynth for Windows Phone and sure enough, the popular and creative photo stitching app is now available!

"Photosynth for Windows Phone is the panorama app that makes it easy and fun to capture and share interactive panoramas of the places, people, and events that are important to you. Using the latest in computer vision techniques, Photosynth is the acknowledged leader in mobile panorama creation. It is the only app available on any mobile platform that allows you to capture 360 degrees horizontally and vertically, making a perfect “sphere."

Once you’ve created a Photosynth, you can share it as an interactive panorama experience on Facebook and Twitter (using the free Photosynth.net service) or as a simple image. You can also publish your panoramas to Bing where millions of people will see your panoramas, on Bing Maps and in Bing search results for the places you've captured. And check out our featured list, where we show off the best of what you and your fellow users create and share."

The app seems very fluid on our Focus 2 and we'll be sure to share some test shots as soon. But for now, go forth and enjoy the latest creation from Microsoft, we're sure you'll be impressed. Leave comments on your thoughts below.

Update: We should note that Windows Phones without a compass or gyroscope (e.g. the HTC Radar) can still use the app but it won't work as fluidly. You'll receive a message informing you as much but you can still download and use the app.

Update 2: Photosynth won't run on Tango hardware like the Lumia 610 as it needs at least 512MB of RAM for processing.

Pick up Photosynth for Windows Phone here in the Marketplace.

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Update: Photosynth for Windows Phone is now on the Marketplace. Read here for more info and download link.

It was about two weeks ago we demonstrated that Microsoft had bumped Photosynth (photosynth.net) to version 1.0 seemingly making the release imminent for Windows Phone. The popular photo stitching app has been in the works for well over a year as we had to watch iOS users take advantage of Microsoft's panoramic software.

At the time, we speculated that the app was coming out of beta hence the 1.0 designation and now we believe that to be accurate. The Twitter account for Windows Phone just tweeeted this little bit of info in the last hour:

"If only there were a great new way to stitch your photos to create a panoramic image. If only we had something to announce soon. IF ONLY :)"

Indeed. We can't think of many apps that would be worthy of such an announcement except for Photosynth and when combined with the v1.0 status from two weeks ago, dare we say we really think it's about to happen.

Hopefully we'll hear more from Microsoft within the next few days on the release. From our experience, companies announce releases only under one condition: when the app has cleared certification in the Marketplace. That could mean less than 24 hours before we get our hands on the app.

Stay tuned.

Source: Microsoft (Windows Phone); Thanks, parthp90, for the tip

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If there's one technology Windows Phone users have been yearning for it's Photosynth. The photo-stitching software creates "synths" or 3D images from your camera phone, giving an immersive photo that's hosted on the web. It then allows the viewer to pan around the image, zoom in and out and various other options.

What makes Photosynth (www.photosynth.net) frustrating for Windows Phone though is not only does the service have an iOS app, the company who makes it is owned by none other than Microsoft.

The Windows Phone version was noted to be a "top priority" for the team and we saw some real evidence of it existing back in February but not much since then.

Now, eagle-eyed reader Scott has found not only some test images but a Microsoft Twitter account that does nothing but post Photosynths. (We're not going public with the Twitter handle because we like to track these things and not scare them off) What's more, when one looks at the JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) data for the image we can see "__version_synther": "Windows Phone 1.0.0" listed, strongly indicated that the Windows Phone app is in final testing.

In fact the image above is an actual photo of a Microsoft employee's test computer which lists the steps in required for testing Photosynth. If you look closely, you can also see "(Windows Phone Only)" an "AugmentedReality" listed which is tantalizing to think about.  (And if anything, that's just kind of interesting to see how this stuff is done).

Should we expect a full-on Photosynth app for Windows Phone soon? We think so and it'd make sense that the app is due hopefully in the next few weeks as it coincides with Microsoft's big "official app" push which seems to be going on.

Fingers crossed people, fingers crossed. A big thanks to Scott for all of his detective work on this story!

 

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