Feeds

Microsoft's Photosynth falls out of cloud

'A little overwhelmed'

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

Updated Microsoft today released a free photo-stitching tool that runs in the cloud – sadly for Redmond, at time of writing Photosynth is having a little lie-down.

At a demo of the software at the London Eye this morning, Microsoft enthusiast evangelist Paul Foster told El Reg that the firm was keeping its fingers crossed that the fancy new website would be capable of taking the load.

He also explained that Microsoft had set aside extra space in its data centres in anticipation that the firm’s servers could cope with traffic to the site over the coming days.

Photosynth buckles under the strainUnhappily, at time of writing Photosynth, which launched in the early hours of this morning, is grumbling that it’s “a little overwhelmed”.

The software – when it works – allows people to build three-dimensional, 360 degree images. Effectively, Microsoft has extended Google’s StreetView to its next logical conclusion with today’s release.

It automatically analyses hundreds of pictures taken at a particular location before knitting them together to create a fused high-resolution panoramic image.

Microsoft Live Labs developed the technology in tandem with researchers at the University of Washington over the past two years. The viewer uses technology from Seadragon, a company bought by Microsoft in February 2006.

Unlike StreetView, which allows snoopers to view still photographs of real locations as you navigate a graphical map on the Google Maps service, Photosynth allows you to pan and zoom across such photos in 3D space.

At the moment it only runs on Windows XP service packs two and three and Vista. We asked Microsoft when Mac fanboys can expect to get their mitts on Photosynth. Foster told us the team was working on developing it for that platform but he couldn't give any timeframe for when it might land.

The major reason for the software being tied to MS platforms is due to the fact that it unsurprisingly relies on Microsoft's DirectX technology, which rivals OpenGL. So the likelihood of Mac fanciers seeing the tech any time soon is pretty remote by our reckoning, unless they want to run it in boot-camp mode, which they can do from today.

Also noteworthy is that Microsoft hasn't bet big on SilverLight with Photosynth. Instead it's opted for Flash support, conceding that it's not the market leader in that field, but also scoring something of an own goal too. If Redmond isn't 100 per cent confident in the online services it has out there today, then what conclusions might its customers draw?

Photosynth has scored big, glossy ink today. But what's once again been brought into sharp focus is the company's failure to truly cope with scaling and managing clustered server-based services up in the cloud. ®

Update

Microsoft blamed "incredible demand" for its Photosynth website collapsing under the load yesterday. It finally came back to life in the early hours of this morning (22 August).

"Getting ready for the launch we did massive amounts of performance testing, built capacity model after capacity model, and yet with all of that, you threw so much traffic our way that we need to add more capacity," explained the company in a blog post entitled "Yikes!"

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.