Brady Forrest at O’Reilly Radar writes about a new startup, Everyscape, which is seeking to take ordinary photographs and knit them into a “3D” image display for cities. According to Forrest, the company has been around since 2002 and received funding in 2004.
Using a mixture of proprietary technology, professionals and community the site hopes to offer photorealistic views of major U.S. cities, as well as building interiors, by this fall. The site offers a demo of the technology touring San Francisco’s Union Square.
This appears to be like a provocative marriage of Microsoft’s Photosyth with Google’s StreetView, with a little Flickr thrown in for good measure. It has the practical, 360 degree pan and zoom features of StreetView and the 2D into 3D approach of Photosynth. The reliance on community (“Scape Artists“) and geocoded images is reminiscent of Yahoo’s Flickr.
The effort to take users into public and commercial building interiors is a leap beyond StreetView today. The side-by-side display of the photography with a map is also like A9′s now defunct block view, in which movement on the map showed corresponding storefront images and vice versa.
In the demo, you also see links to aggregated ratings and reviews from third party sources such as Yahoo Travel, Yelp, Trip Advisor, Citysearch and others.
What may wind up being “revolutionary” about Everyscape is that it appears less expensive to develop these renderings, based on ordinary photography. And if the company can get tourists and residents to submit photos en masse, it may get users to do much of the work.
While the StreetView privacy debate is equally relevant to Everyscape, users can instantly see the value of this application.
In StreetView, Photosyth and, now, Everyscape (as well as 3D rendering in Google Earth and Microsoft’s Virtual Earth) we’re seeing one almost certain future path for the Internet. (At some point all this will give birth to photorealistic cousins of SecondLife.) We’re also seeing in these applications the emergence of an alternative paradigm to traditional search as a way to find information and conduct transactions in a range of categories where place or location is a meaningful consideration.