There’s been a lot of discussion on the web about Microsoft’s Photosynth but this demonstration from TED really reveals the real possibilities. The image navigation opportunities offered by Seadragon are quite amazing but as Blaise Aguera y Arcas points out in the short demonstration, what a collective Photosynth experience offers is the ability for one user/contributor’s content to benefit from the metadata associated with everyone else’s content that is visually related (around the 6:10-6:30 mark).
If the cultural sector contributed images, or made use of this sort of application our very rich contextual metadata could be added to the common pool allowing for holiday snaps to be explored with deep connections to cultural collections and other people’s snapshots. And, again as Blaise Aguera y Arcas makes clear, the other side effect is the ability to generate rich virtual reconstruction works as well.
The BBC has already been exploring these possibilities.