This video, shown at SIGGRAPH, demos a re-invention of how to navigate collections of photos. It's the work of a team from the University of Washington and Microsoft Research, using advanced processing to magically create 3D-like environments to explore photos of places and things. The amazing results will, inevitably, invoke a "that's like Minority Report" sensation in you. Currently the team sees the system as useful for photo tourism, using "community photos" from a source like Flickr. But with each of us snapping photos all the time on our digital cams, I'd like to think it's the way you may browse your photo collection in the future. [Phototourism via Crunchgear]
Oh come on guys, have a little imagination. This is enormously different than Piclens because it figures out dynamically which pictures go where and how they relate to one another (as in overlapping like a panorama, but from various points of view as well). It is much more than just an image browser, as you can see it creates a three-dimensional environment (all those dots behind the image are created dynamically) from two-dimensional images.
You don't need to take bajillions of photos because they ALREADY EXIST. Imagine every single photo from flickr, picasa, and panoramio (or even google images) all being integrated into one world-wide photosynth! Eventually you would dynamically create a navigatable 3D world without having to actually model or texture anything! The most important part would be proper tagging and locating photos to properly place them on a globe. Hell, this could probably be integrated into Google Earth or Microsoft's Live Earth equivalent!
This technology is incredible.