Photosynth Ripple Effects

I’d previously read about Microsoft Live Labs’ Photosynth, but up until now those articles only provided accompanying images. Basically the way I understand this is that while Google is going around with customized data-collection trucks documenting the world and assembling the pieces for everyone, Microsoft is essentially crowdsourcing/ outsourcing the work to netizens and letting the pieces self-assemble.

Lately I’ve been seeing an additional wave of discussion about the technology and while browsing through the CGTalk forum a few moments ago, I came across a post linking to the Photosynth website which has three videos currently available (Link). Those videos are in addition to the TED 2007 video (shown above) which was recently uploaded.

These are very much worth watching as there is plenty of talk in them about seamless augmented reality experiences and the variety of ways in which this technology can be used… or, I’m thinking, possibly misused should the source data find its way into a commercial product and cause conflicts like the current one between Sony and the Church of England over the use of the Manchester Cathedral in the “Resistance: Fall of Man” videogame.

Aside from the wonderful competition between Google and Microsoft, and the sticky legal issues that are increasingly showing up in all things virtual, what I’ve also been wondering is: how might this kind of technology affect consumer camera design? And might we see sample clans form around any new devices?

{Update: Design Sojourn has picked this up and there’s a bit of discussion occurring over there – Link. Also, Wired is carrying an article on this and related technology – Link}