Microsoft to present fly-through photo app, PhotoSynth

A team from Microsoft Live Labs will present a prototype of an awesome looking new photo tool at tomorrow’s SIGGRAPH conference in Boston. Called Photosynth, the tool will compile multiple images of a single location to create a zoomable fly-through 3D image. Other functionality, like looking up similar photos on the web, is in the works as well.

PhotoSynth is the first prototype to come out of the new Microsoft Live Labs and is a great example of cool technologies made possible by corporate largess. If it works well when it hits market, I can imagine countless uses – the company bills the system as 3D Photo Tourism.

If storing, sharing and moving around digital photos is the primary theme of most of what we’ve seen online so far, I’m excited to see what more can be done with composite images. Startup photo sharing system Snapmania last week unveiled a similar, smaller application called the Tourist Remover, which compares multiple images from different angles of the same location and removes unwanted objects from a composite photo. Unfortunately that application is reported to work poorly and in very few conditions. Microsoft has another service, Group Photo, that reproduces those functions. It’s a tough life as a media start up in competition with the big guys.

Videos of PhotoSynth in action are available on the project site.