Microsoft’s Photosynth Not Ready For Real Estate Virtual Tours

September 7th, 2008

Microsoft’s Photosynth technology has been on the street for several weeks now. I like the way it stitches a series of still images together to form a 360 like panning view. It’s kind of like the Photoshop Photomerge on steroids. I think this concept has great potential but is is far from ready for prime time!

It is not surprising that people have already started to use this technology to create tours (warning only PC users can see these tours). And there are people promoting it’s use in real estate.

Here are the reasons that prevent Photosynth from being ready for real estate tours in it’s current state of development:

  1. You have to download a viewer. Anyone that’s spend any time using real estate tours knows that having to download a viewer is the “kiss of death” in online marketing. You loose a huge percentage of potential viewers as soon as there’s a download required.
  2. It only works on Windows and Vista. Yea, I know this is the majority of the planet but I’m not willing to use technology that leaves out a large and growing percentage of viewers.

The evolution of 360 VR and real estate tours over the last 10 years has had similar issues (competing technologies of QuickTime, Java, Shockwave, Flash and other viewers) and only recently has a solution (Flash 9) appeared that will solve all the issues. The significance of Flash 9 is that it finally has features and performance that it is suitable for 360 VR and it’s on 96 to 97% of computers worldwide. Almost no downloads required!

So why didn’t Microsoft develop Photosynth in Flash 9? Probably because Microsoft has it’s own competing technology it is promoting called Silverlight. Or maybe the research group at Microsoft that built Photosynth is concerned more about the concept than the implementation of Photosynth.

The bottom line here is that despite all the competing new technologies of Microsoft, Apple, Adobe and others from the point of view of a real estate photographer or real estate agent make sure you only invest your time and money in a technology that doesn’t require downloading viewers. Right now Flash and plain HTML with Javascript are the only technologies that meet that goal.

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8 Responses to “Microsoft’s Photosynth Not Ready For Real Estate Virtual Tours”

  • To be truly effective using this technolgy many more photos need to be taken – just look at how synthy [rating on the photosynth page] most of these are – not very.

    There is no way agents are going to bother with 30 or more images per room to make real use of this technology….


  • I tried making one of these yesterday. It took over 4 hours to upload 78 images, and the result was only 58% synthy. I do not like it at all…

  • […] Apparently, someone I really respect agrees it isn’t ready for widespread usage. […]

  • I would like to have the suggestion on which is the best software in market today for a real estate virtual tour. I personally like the quality of How can i produce the quality. Which is the best software to produce full screen good result.

  • Check out the new version of Photosynth.. It runs on Silverlight so works on the Mac – There are also highlights that allow great navigation. Check this out:

  • Scott: The problem is to view the photosynth tour you reference I have to download and install Silverlight. This might have made sense 10 years ago when every one was willing to install plugins and Java installs and Quicktime to see a home tours. No more! It is now the kiss of death. Everyone has Flash. NO ONE is willing to download and install plugins just to see a tour. If you want your tours to be seen use Flash period. This is a simple fact in todays online real estate marketing.

  • I don’t care how it makes the inside of the house look(not good) because I just want this to illustrate amazing back yard views. I want to fly down to the house from 5 miles up, the open the front door and head to the back yard. I dont care about the downloading issue spoken of to Scott, because I will just download it and create a screencast. Who can I get to do this for me though? I am no photographer, and certainly not a tech geek. Any thoughts?

  • Its still not ready! I have been looking into software that would allow me to create a Virtual Tour 360 so I can share with prospects and use in my marketing. Something easy to use, but high quality output.

    This is NOT it! quality is just not there and cannot use panoramas already created with professional software. I am going to pass on this offering from Microsoft..

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