WSJ Says Big Google Search Changes Coming? Reality Check Time!

reality-sign-featured The Wall Street Journal is out with a story saying that Google is about to make one of the biggest changes in its history of offering web search, providing more direct answers and gaining "semantic" smarts to understand more about what words mean. I'm scratching my head, since Google already does this. Methinks Google's PR has exploded in ways it didn't expect. Beyond Blue Links! From the story, we learn things such as: Over the next few months, Google's search engine will begin spitting out more than a list of blue Web links. It will also present more facts and direct answers to queries at [...]

Microsoft’s Photosynth App Goes Worldwide After 6 Million US Downloads

microsoft-photosynth-featured Microsoft's Photosynth iOS app, which has been available to US users for almost a year, is now available worldwide and includes a couple updates. In its blog post today, Microsoft says the app has passed six million downloads since its US-only launch last April. The app is now in version 1.1.3 and is available to iOS users around the world. It includes performance tweaks specifically for iOS5 users and adds Twitter sharing, too. Previously, photo panoramas could be shared on Bing Maps and Facebook. If you're not familiar with Photosynth, it's an underrated product that makes it almos [...]

Google Maps Vs. Bing Maps: Summer Vacation Planning Showdown

google-bing-maps-featured Wouldn't it be great if there was one mapping service that offers everything you need to plan a trip to somewhere you've never been? Sure, map sites are generally pretty similar. You can see maps, find business listings, get driving directions, see images and stuff like that. But it's actually more complicated than that. At least it was for me. My wife and I recently visited Maui, Hawaii for the first time. We spent a week on the island celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary and, after getting advice from all of our family and friends, we had enough must-sees and must-dos to fill a [...]

Bing’s Read/Write World: An Ambitious Project To Bridge Maps With Movies, Photos, Local Data & More

read-write-world-featured It's probably not something that you can wrap your head around pretty quickly. It's also not something you can describe in quick, easily digestible terms. "It" is a new Microsoft Bing effort called Read/Write World that has some pretty lofty goals: things like indexing and connecting all of the world's "geo-linked media." And not just indexing and connecting all this media, but also making it easy to use and consume, too, on any platform and type of device. It's stuff like maps, photos, panoramas, movies, business listings -- almost anything that can be tied to a physical location - [...]

Microsoft’s Photosynth Gets Its Own iOS App

Photosynth is one of the many cool-but-underpromoted-and-unknown aspects of the Bing Maps experience. That could change soon thanks to the launch this week of a Photosynth app for iOS devices. With the Photosynth app, users can create panoramic images inside the app -- no additional stitching software required -- and upload them directly into Bing Maps. (Or to Facebook if you prefer.) It looks better than I'm describing it, so watch at about the :20 mark of this Microsoft video to see how the app works. Video: Microsoft Photosynth App – April 2011 If users upload panoramas to Bing M [...]

Bing Releases Huge Set of Upgrades: Maps, Local, Mobile, Travel, Image Search

At the Bing Search event in San Francisco today, Microsoft unveiled a dizzying array of nearly across-the-board updates and improvements for Bing online and mobile apps. Some are minor and some are more significant. Most of these upgrades and feature enhancements will be available starting today or later this month. There are in fact so many things rolling out simultaneously that it's a bit overwhelming. Accordingly in this post I'm just going to offer up an edited version of the information provided by Microsoft. We'll explore selected features and products later in subsequent posts. Fa [...]

Microsoft Adds Photosynth To Virtual Earth

Microsoft's innovative Photosynth technology has been integrated into Virtual Earth, marking the first time Photosynth has been available for commercial use. Photosynth is a tool that lets users upload regular photos and then stitches those photos into 3-D scenes of whatever the photos depict. Our Greg Sterling has previously shown some Photosynth screenshots and called it "pretty amazing stuff." Microsoft says that two early customers using Photosynth via its integration with Virtual Earth are NASA and VisitBrighton. Here's one screenshot of how NASA is using Photosynth to show the Inte [...]

Microsoft Releases Large Volume Of New Images For Maps

Virtual Earth, which has been somewhat in the shadow of Google Maps and Earth released a large volume of new images for Live Search Maps for a range of countries and cities around the globe. The imagery allows you to get in very close, so you can see how far your hotel is exactly from the beach in Cannes, for example: Live Search Maps has not received as much attention as Google Maps but the site has improved greatly over time in terms of usability and accuracy. It's also much faster than before. Both Google and Microsoft offer satellite imagery, which is often not that us [...]

Microsoft Taking On Google Street View With “GeoSynth”?

Since it was introduced more than two years ago, Microsoft's innovative Photosynth technology has been "under-leveraged." I've written a number of times about Photosynth and its potential. Now, according to an article in Fast Company, Microsoft is going to compete more aggressively with Google StreetView by soliciting user-generated photos and then geotagging and Photosynthing them. The effort is reportedly called "Geosynth": Microsoft is going to find its images from someone else, namely, you. Essentially GeoSynth is going to function as a mashup between Microsoft's Virtual Earth maps system [...]

Google Maps Adds User Photos To Street View

Google has added geo-tagged Panoramio photos to StreetView images. According to the Google LatLong Blog it's done automatically: Google's image-matching algorithms will analyze them at some point to see if they are also a good match for a Street View location. Google has offered images on Maps for some time, but not directly integrated into StreetView like this. A thumbnail appears in the upper right of the StreetView image (see below). Clicking it opens a new view of the location with a horizontal scrolling bar of images. Users can click any of the images to enlarge. Google is implying [...]

Microsoft Integrates Photosynth Into Live Maps

Channel 10 reports Microsoft has integrated Photosynth into Live Maps. Greg covered Photosynth when it first went public, he described it as a "totally cool" tool that allows Windows users to upload photos, "the technology automatically "synths" them, creating a 3-D, 360-degree interactive photo collage of whatever the photographs depict." Microsoft has now integrated it with Live Maps and you can see live examples in Seattle, Vatican city, at the Leaning tower of Pisa and many more places. Greg Sterling posted additional screen captures at his personal blog. In other Microsoft mappi [...]

Microsoft’s Photosynth Opens To The Public

Microsoft's Photosynth is morphing from a Microsoft Live Labs experiment -- featured on the BBC's "How We Built Britain" television series and in select other rarefied contexts -- to what can only be described as a "totally cool" consumer application. I've always been intrigued by Photosynth, since its introduction in late 2006, and what Microsoft might do with it. The consumer release is only the beginning; there are myriad academic, educational and potential commercial uses of the technology. On the new consumer site, you can upload your photos -- it only works on Windows machines (XP [...]

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