Photosynth - whilst still a beta application produced by Microsoft Live Labs in collaboration with some other brainy people, this amazing software promises to provide a 3 dimensional photo album that you can zoom into and explore using a very intuitive interface.
All you need is a bunch of photos that overlap - the David Hockney approach to photography. The software does the rest - once you've uploaded the images - the software stiches them together and recreates the 3 dimensions that the images were captured from (unlike VRML, this software will take you inside/out and upside/down). But even more amazing is the ability of the software to deliver high resolution through progressive loading of the visual data as the user zooms in to the images.
Apart from the collaborative applications - imagine sharing shots in Flickr to rebuild entire cities - there have got to be some interesting commercial applications:
- virtual retail showrooms that are constantly updated by a live webfeed
- virtual travel - view Times Square in real time, or close to real time
- events like concerts or sports matches - see the action from any angle
Whilst still a preview product, I can see this changing conventional online media - the possibilities are endless!