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Virtual Tours on Microsoft's Photosynth

Photosynth I haven’t had much time lately to keep up with my real estate tech news readings, so maybe I missed this announcement on another site. Either way, Microsoft’s absolutely incredible Photosynth technology has been released to the public for a bit over two weeks now, and already I’m starting to see some pretty cool virtual tour- like “synths” start to pop up for different property listings across the country. Check ’em out. Here is one of the better synths I found of a listing’s interior. Consider yourself warned that you’ll need a pretty capable computer and graphics card combination to get the most out of the site.

I’m actually surprised there aren’t more listings up there, but maybe it’s just that only a handful of people know about it. If you have a bunch of photos from a listing — or any other collection of photos — I encourage you to visit the site and give it a shot. You may want to read “Synthing to sell: using Photosynth to help sell a house“and “Synthing tips: How to synth a room” before you get started.

Interior synth

Once you’ve got one you’re proud of, show it off by linking to it in a comment below. It seems to me that this would be a pretty nifty way to make a pitch to potential clients to try to pick up their listing.

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  • Photosynth is entertaining but as a way to market listings, it’s a toy because it violates a couple of important principles of tours:

    1) When you require tour viewers to download ANYTHING just to see your tour you loose a major portion of them… it’s been proven over and over that buyers just don’t care about downloading viewers to see some cute new tour technology.

    2) You want tours to work for everyone… Photosynth doesn’t have a viewer for the Mac.

    It’s taken almost 10 years for tour technology to evolve to a point where there finally is a viewer suitable for all tours (Flash 9) without having to download Java, QuickTime, Shockwave or any other viewer. Virtually everyone on the planet has Flash. Real estate agents that use tours based anything other than Flash are wasting their time and money.

  • Andrew Mattie

    I generally agree with everything you just said Larry. If I were an agent, I certainly wouldn’t offer Photosynth and only Photosynth. I personally always like a way to view the raw, higher resolution photos.

    However, for me at least, the time I take to download and install Photosynth offers way more than just a handful of pictures fading in and out and some lame music to go along with it. The way I see it, it’s like Google maps vs Google street view. Sure, Google maps is nice, but with Google street view, I can really get a feel for the area. Similarly, with a Photosynth tour, I really feel like I’m exploring the listing on my own without wasting anyone’s time if I’m only partially interested or without traveling across the city or country if I’m moving somewhere else.

    It’s just that Photosynth offers so much more than any other static-image-based virtual tour technology, and I’m in love with the idea of finding new ways to help me find out more about the property.

  • Maybe I’m missing the point, by why not just go ahead and put together a video?

  • Andrew Mattie

    I suppose it depends on who your target audience is. Me personally, I’d rather explore the interior spaces of a home on my own through something like Photosynth than through a video that might go too fast through some areas and not give me as much of a sense of dimensional perspective of the interior as this does.

  • Pingback: Photography For Real Estate » Microsoft’s Photosynth Not Ready For Real Estate Virtual Tours()

  • I tried this a few weeks ago because I read that it is so amazing. I was able to get one wide angle shot that looks kind of cool in it. So far for representing my listings the clarity of the photos created with this is not good enough.

  • To eliminate a portion of your audience who are on Macs which are NOT compatible is bad marketing. Period,. Secondly, to force a consumer to download a program, install it, and navigate back to your site is very 1990s…. people don’t put up with that anymore – except your hard core geeks who want to see everything new. “Aunt Tillie” who is shopping for a home on her older machine with AOL that her nephew gave her 3 years ago is NOT going to bother with any of this.

    Flash is compatible with 98%++ of ALL computers. The only reason Microsoft avoids Flash is because of their competing product, SilverLight (what? what’s that?)

    Microsoft is becoming more and more out of touch (all you have to do is watch their new ads… for shoes? I don’t even understand them……… It’s cool technology (maybe… I can’t see it to honestly say)… but it’s not going to fly for real estate.

  • Ok. I can’t see Photosynth being an end to other web tour tools (360 pano and video), but I absolutely think this can be a cool tool for real estate listings. When I first saw Photosynth, I immediately thought how cool it would be to stitch photos that would be able tour the yard and exterior of a house. Then to be able to go inside, zoom into a high res photo of the hard wood floor or the fireplace or the high end kitchen faucet (allowing an inspection of the property – maybe even the neighborhood around the house). I don’t believe it would have a broad appeal (“Aunt Tillie”?). But I am never upset when I (as a real estate agent) generate a lead from the geeky tech savy world. If a photosynth tour helped me connect with someone on the web from a lead generation standpoint, I am happy.

  • I agree that this is cool technology but think from a marketing standpoint it doesn’t add anything that a video or good slide show will give you. But… it looks fun, so I will give it a spin.

  • It’s neat new tool, and I look forward to trying it out. But, like Fred Light stated above it does seem a bit old fashion to have a have someone download a whole new program to see one tour.

  • There is now a Silverlight version of the viewer available on the Photosynth website. A couple of people noted that downloading anything will put people off your site, I would put Silverlight in a different category that it is a download once use many times application, plus Silverlight already has great market penetration even after only a short release time. The Silverlight team has made a big effort to making the install as quick and painless as possible and I think it is one area that if there is a compelling user scenario people will download something especially from a well known company such as Microsoft. I know when I was looking for a house something like this would have been great, even just the ability of the 2D view to quickly view many images without having to click next, next, next etc makes this a compelling presentation medium.

  • Personally, I’m online ALL day long, view videos all day long and have used Silverlight maybe ONCE? I would not say it has any market penetration whatsoever. I would still call it OBSCURE. 99% of the public has never even heard of it.

    And as far as trusting a download from a well known company such as Microsoft, I’m not sure that’s all so compelling either. Microsoft’s Internet Exploder is making news worldwide.

    “Users of all current versions of Microsoft Corp.’s Internet Explorer browser might be vulnerable to having their computers hijacked because of a serious security hole in the software that had yet to be fixed Monday.
    The flaw lets criminals commandeer victims’ machines merely by tricking them into visiting Web sites tainted with malicious programming code. As many as 10,000 sites have been compromised since last week to exploit the browser flaw, according to antivirus software maker Trend Micro Inc.”

    I don’t care how good this is (and I am unable to see it even WITH a download), I think putting up so many barriers for viewing would be a HUGE mistake. Huge.

  • we are using plastic kitchen faucets at home because they are very cheap and you can easily replace them if they broke ‘:”

  • I was been searching the WWW for such information and i wanted to say thanks to u for this post. Also, just off topic, how can i find a version of this theme? – 10x

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