Microsoft has finally launched a public preview of Photosynth which is designed to turn your 2D images into a 3D world. At this point they only have a few pre-built collections for you to browse but they say that they are working on an efficient way so that anyone can add their own images to the online application. Here is what the team has to say about why users can’t add their own images right now:

We want to provide this capability as soon as we can but there are some real technical hurdles to solve before we’re ready for primetime. Today each and every image in a collection needs to be compared against each and every other image in order to see if it’s a match for the scene undergoing reconstruction. Processing to build a collection can take hours or days in some cases. We have lots of ideas on how to improve this processing time but we need some time test some of these ideas and make the tools easy for people to use.

When using Photosynth there are four different collections that they have available for viewing. In the upper-left corner of the screen you just have to select the “More Collections” option to view the different galleries that they have already put together for the demonstration.

Yes, this is an online application because this is all done on a website contrary to what I initially thought. When I first saw this in action (in the video above) it looked like a program that someone would download and run on their own computer but it is all done right from your web browser. Well, maybe not your favorite browser because it does require you to use Internet Explorer 6 or 7.

I do have to say that it is as impressive as I initially thought it would be. I found it to be extremely easy to navigate and understand without reading how to do anything. The Photosynth team says that the next update won’t be for a few months and at that time they hope to let people add their own photos. I can’t wait for another release because this is pretty cool!

Thanks to “Jack of all Trades” for the tip!