Microsoft: 3D Future will be Photosynth
"Microsoft's Craig Mundie has dismissed the potential of "synthetic virtual worlds" like Second Life, saying that the potential for immersive environments will be likely realized through 3D tools that capture and model the real world.
Mundie, who oversees research and long-term strategy for Microsoft, devoted a significant portion of his "Rethinking Computing" presentation at MIT's Emerging Technology conference to what he called the "Spatial Web," a blend of 3D, video, and location-aware technologies. At the center of several of his demos was Photosynth, a Microsoft software tool that can create 3D models using 2D photographs taken with an ordinary digital camera. In one brief demo he showed how a small, camera-equipped robot could be used to model a large room. In another, he showed a 3D model of a commercial district in Seattle that had been created with Photosynth, and demonstrated how a virtual visitor could come to the district using the Internet, enter an art shop in the area, and examine and buy a virtual sculpture that had also been "photosynthed" by the shop clerks or the artist.
Mundie noted that Microsoft is counting on the creation of a 3D "parallel universe" modeled with tools like Photosynth. However, he dismissed the potential of social virtual worlds that include user-modeled objects. "Many people are familiar with Second Life, which is a synthetic virtual world that
people came quite enamored with," Mundie said. "Our view was that there was a fairly limited audience who was willing to deal with the construction of avatars and operating in that virtual space."
[read the full article at The Industry Standard]
I would go along with Mundie when it comes to short term vision -only to a certain extend though. I agree with the part that there is a huge market for the Paraverse, virtual worlds that mirror our own real world, and that these mirror worlds will be fit for business sooner that general VW's in all likelyhood when augmented reality kicks in.
Question is... will the dominant one be a Microsoft product? I would have been very surprised if Mundie would have said the future is in the hands of Google Earth, but I don't think Microsoft, despite Photosynth being a cool product, has what it takes at this time to be a thoughtleader in this area.
So, speaking off the next couple of years, he's right and the paraverse may get a bigger business crowd moving, but in the long run, I wouldn't put my money on Microsoft.