Although the utility of having Photosynths integrated with Live maps is questionable at the moment when compared with Street View, it’s only a matter of time before the map is a little more saturated with user-generated content. Imagine if a rooftop restaurant put out an official, well-done synth of the view from their deck — that’s really great exposure if it pops up when you type in “downtown seattle restaurant patio” or something like that when you’re looking for a scenic outdoor bite in the summer.
Microsoft should be sending interns to offices and bars all over town with cameras, building this service up. I feel Microsoft has a long record of making cool things available but not pushing them or giving them the exposure they need. Photosynth and the underlying tech is fun and cool, but unless people have it staring them in the face, they’re not going to care one way or the other. They also need to integrate it more with the Live maps experience; at the moment it pops up to the Photosynth site, why can’t it be a little virtual window?