Today, June 03, 2008, the Google service Panoramio released a 3D walk-around feature in Flash that looks remarkably similar to openphotovr.

If they really did use my source, this makes me upstream of Google in UI code. Flattering! If they didn't, they certainly studied it: the color scheme and the Jacobian trick for transitions (don't ask) are proof enough. They could have given attribution, but didn't, so let's talk no longer about that.

No use sounding bitter, 'cause there's no priority in such things. The University of Washington did the research heavy lifting two years ago, Microsoft created market awareness a little later, and now Google is solving the scalability part. Honestly, my only contribution was a simple Flash interface in 1K lines of code. And my own best PR coup was a light-hearted jab at Microsoft.

Either way, photo VR is entering the mainstream. My project was a non-profit from the beginning, with the ultimate goal of making Photosynth-like photo browsing part of the Web. Looks like I succeeded in just five months. The best part: by using my GPL'd source code, anyone can easily build a Panoramio-like service with 3D transitions, API and all, right now. No automatic matching yet, but somebody will certainly write GPL software for that too.

I am not sure what to do with openphotovr now. Close it down? Pass to another maintainer? Build some new technology to change the world once again? My next project will definitely be for-profit (being poor sucks), but I'm not killing this site just yet. If you have ideas, don't hesitate to write me.
Vladimir Slepnev
Moscow, Russia
cousin_it at reddit, livejournal and hacker news

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changed June 3, 2008