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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Harnessing the power of the people

Most of you have probably seen this video from TED talks two years ago about the amazing program Photosynth by Microsoft. Previously the best example was Notre Dame. So many people had taken images there that by using simple Flickr tags the program could aggregate massive amounts of knowledge and create a 3D, explorable environment.

Along with many of today's advances comes this one from a partnership with CNN. Over the past year I've been extremely impressed by the news organization's utilization of new and emerging technologies and social media (even if that hologram thing was a pretty bold-faced lie). Today they've brought us a new way to relive the inauguration through a Photosynth library. Check it out here. It's very rad.

The really cool thing about this is that—as far as I know—it's the first time Photosynth has been harnessed so instantly. The Notre Dame example works well because so many photos have been taken of the building over years. But this is from a singular event, shared by millions. And within hours we have this.

As more people add to the database it'll become even more power—and cool. This is web 3.0, folks. Harnessing a collective cloud of data to explore the world with depth and total transparency. You can't give Obama credit for it, but somehow it seems like pretty appropriate timing.

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