Sunday, August 31, 2008

Services, Mashups & Cloud: Photosynth

Imagine for a moment that a Microsoft research group finished a beta version of a project that they had dubbed ‘Photosynth’. Their pet project was to allow users to create panoramic virtual environments by using regular 2-D digital cameras. Users would merely take lots of adjacent pictures where the edges of one photo would overlap with the next. The photos would then be submitted online to a set of computers that would use artificial intelligence to transform the individual digital pictures into a panoramic viewing environment that could be witnessed by anyone who had the Internet and a browser.

For this to be interesting a few things would be needed. First, we would need lots of people who could contribute pictures (user generated content). Second, we’d need a whole bunch of computers to act as one to crunch on digital image matching algorithms. Third, we’d need the ability to host the image online and allow the proud publishers to pass around copies of their new site's URL to all of their friends, encouraging them to become publishers as well. Imagine now, that the this happened and that the traffic to the site increased by 140,000% in just 7 days. Imagine that.

The world of API’s (or services), mashups and cloud computing are all upon us. As many businesses continue cut costs and hunker down for a ‘wanna-be’ recession, others are innovating and driving new sustainable revenue sources.

Services, Mashups and Cloud drive business opportunities for those who seek a competitive advantage.

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