Photosynth's New Features: Highlights and Cross-Platform Viewer

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I missed this update from earlier this month, but it looks like Microsoft Photosynth has added a couple of new features. The first new feature is really more of a change than anything else. It seems the previously experimental cross-platform Silverlight viewer is now being promoted to become the main viewer for Photosynth. The embedding code has also been moved to Silverlight so your synth embeds can be shared around the web. Also, the controls within the Silverlight viewer have been updated based on user feedback. All the controls have now been consolidated in the bottom center of the viewer for easy access.

With the move to Silverlight, there’s a lower frame rate, the Photosynth team acknowledged in a blog post, but they’re working to improve the performance so the Silverlight viewer can be more feature rich and match or even outperform the old one. They say that the move was “one step back” but really was “two steps forward” since it allows Mac users to fully participate on the website and the editing and highlighting features can be built right into the viewer code.

Another new feature is called “Synth Highlights.” This feature lets you pinpoint the best spots within a synth which are shown in a small sidebar to the right of the 3D image. You can simply click through the highlights to travel through the synth without missing any of the good stuff. Here are a couple of examples:  Nellie Inglerock - Masonic Cemetery and Art Gallery of New South Wales.

To add highlights to your synth, look for the “Edit Synth and Highlights” link in the right area of your synth (you have to be logged in first). Then find a great photo, optionally title and/or caption it, and click “Add Highlight.” Click “Save,” and you’re done.

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