Photosynth for iPhone: Virtual Tours Galore

CRE Apps recently posted a review on 360 Panorama by Occipital which got a lot of interest. With my curiosity piqued, I set out to look for similar apps. Low and behold, there is a one for the the iPhone called Photosynth. It is made by Microsoft, and is quite amazing. (Clarification: the app is amazing; knowing that Microsoft is making iPhone apps is more ironic...)

From the product description in Apple's App Store:

Photosynth for iOS is the panorama creation app that makes it easy and fun to capture and share interactive panoramas of the places, people, and events that are important to you. Using the latest in computer vision techniques, Photosynth allows you to not only make a panorama from left to right, but also up and down, enabling you to capture a full “sphere”.

Once you’ve created a Photosynth you can share it as an interactive panorama experience to Facebook (via the free Photosynth.net service) or as a simple image. You can also publish your panoramas to Bing Maps where millions of people can see your panoramas, both on the a map itself and in search results for the places you've captured.

Source: Apple App Store

What is equally incredible is that this app appears to have been out for awhile, but I've yet to see it (or 360 Panorama for that matter) used for a commercial real estate listing.

The Photosynth site has several incredible examples of the end result - see this 360 view of Isla Del Sol (you'll need Silverlight to view):

Doesn't it feel like you're almost there in person?

Here is an example of an interior Photosynth: Rugby Baptist Church

After you get the hang of Photosynth (which takes a little patience), it is a breeze to use.

Imagine getting a new plug-n-play sub-lease listing, pulling out your iPhone to record a virtual tour in a matter of seconds, then simply posting a link to it on Loopnet or Rofo. Right away, you could stop having to field 100s of questions about the space or waste time giving property tours with less interested parties.

The only draw back I've read so far is that the image composite editor is PC only, which means Mac owners can't use the application to crop and edit the photos or create an account on the photosynth website. Hopefully, Microsoft is working on this since it is an iPhone app.

Because most CRE folks are still tech dinosaurs, and 90% of our fellow brokers are running Windows XP and Internet Explorer 8, this shouldn't be an issue...

After seeing this app in action, I would readily pay $10-$20 for it, but, guess what? It is free. So, there is no excuse for brokers to keep taking pictures of their listings which look like they came from a disposable camera.

Eventually, (if the demand was there) I bet Rofo or Loopnet may even build functionality whereby you could upload this file directly to your listing record and have it immediately available to all viewers. Until then, we can only dream...

Download this app: iPhone

Post updated February 3, 2012 with text strikethroughs.