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June 3, 2008

Explore Places Using Panoramio Look Around

Panoramio, a Spanish photo hosting service acquired by Google to enhance Google Earth and Google Maps, added an interesting feature called "look around". In areas with a high density of images, you can interactively move from one image to another one. "The most interesting places to look around are squares, towers or any location where people took photo in many different directions. Having many overlapped photos means that you can move very far away from the starting point, almost like a real walk," explains Eduardo Manchón, from Panoramio. "Photos of details get embedded inside wide perspectives and allow a nice zoom-in effect. [It] depends very much on the place, but around 10-20 photos should be enough to get the look around."


Frank Taylor, from the unofficial Google Earth Blog, compares "look around" with Microsoft PhotoSynth, an interesting technology that reconstructs three-dimensional spaces from large collections of photos. Panoramio's feature is less impressive and can't recreate 3D spaces that let you seamlessly move between different perspectives, but I wouldn't be surprised if Google integrates it with Street View and Google Earth.

The list of places you can explore using the new feature includes: the top of Empire State in New York, the last floor of Eiffel Tower, the Red Square of Moscow, Brandenburg gate in Berlin and Taj Mahal. Just click on "look around" below the photo and move your mouse inside the new image to choose the next perspective.

5 comments:

  1. I must say I'm very impressed by their algorithm which detects the shape of the photos.
    Even if it often doesn't work at all (e.g. it shows pics located close to the original one but without any connection with it), sometimes it works perfectly well and I didn't know such a technology existed yet.
    Some of my own photos have the "look around" link added and I find it very useful.

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  2. There is already a similar (an maybe even mroe advanced) technology like that.

    It's called Photosynth and has been acquired by Microsoft some time ago:
    http://labs.live.com/photosynth/

    But that works only on Windows so was a Linux user I'm happy Google gets into the game with a version that works for me, too.

    Go Google!

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  3. PhotoSynth is much more advanced, but it's not scalable because it requires a lot of image processing. Right now, you can only see some demos.

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  4. i think it's better and faster than photosynth...and if i already have flash player installed on my browser, i don't need to install anything to run "Look around"

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  5. found about look around just recently, immediately compared with current photosynth incarnation - way beyond tech demo level (but still not integrated with any other Live services) and as impresive as it was from the beginning. Still, very nice move on the Google's side, technology used in a really useful way.

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