Realtime multiuser browsing of synths: just a pipe dream?

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  • Updated 12 years ago
Has anyone considered realtime collaborative browsing as a possible future feature for photosynth.net? What I mean is essentially, could we (when we implement some sort of friends/contacts list) have what amounts to instant messaging/voice chat + guided touring of a synth? I was IMing my friend in Wisconsin a couple of weeks back, 'showing' him photosynth and there was a distinct feeling that there should be an easier way to keep track of where the other guy was so that we were "on the same page" when we were talking about details of the photos. I know that we (the community) currently have some understanding of how to append the camera information onto the url via the link code, so partially this would seem to be just exchanging those urls within one window.

Is this something that a third party web developer could implement in something of a mashup, or would it require updating of the actual viewer/release of some sort of an API? I'm sure that the Live Labs peeps have enough on their plates without me dreaming out loud, but I was curious.

I'm still not sure how much control you'd want to take out of any one user's hands, but one scenario is certainly the concept of dragging the other person along with you when you switch photos. I can think of times when it would be beneficial to have every navigation - ever zoom, every pan - mirrored on the other user's/users' machine to provide a live guided tour.

There would certainly be other times where it would be beneficial to be able to keep chatting, but explore separately until one of you found something of interest, at which point, you could sync your navigation to whoever was doing the driving. I'm wondering how challenging this tethering and untethering would prove to be.

I understand that this would be a bit tricky with users having different speeds, but I'm sure that if one person's connection was substantially faster than their friend's/friends', they could be talked into waiting for the lowest common denominator to finish resolving the current photo before moving to the next.

I know that this would be a pretty piece of programming, but I look at implementations of web based IM and interesting projects like Netflix users being able to watch movies together in their silverlight app on the web and I can't help but think that that sort of experience (looking at pictures together in real time and talking about them - an all-time favorite pastime - now in 3D) would be a huge magnet for community activity.

Alright, shoot me down, lads and lassies.
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Nathanael Lawrence

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  • pretty sure it will happen later rather than sooner.

Posted 12 years ago

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