Microsoft Photosynth has been on a long road to discontinuation. The company announced in July 2015 that its Mobile Apps will close. Now Microsoft says the Photosynth website and service will end in February 2017. With the shuttering, the company has offered customers a path to move their content to a local location.
Photosynth was launched in 2008 as an application for analyzing digital photographs and re-generating them in 3D. The platform was created by Microsoft Live Labs in collaboration with the University of Washington. As well as creating a 3D photo model, the service makes a point cloud of the photo object.
Microsoft Photosynth maps parts of an image to creates points that are converted to a model. This is achieved with pattern recognition technology. Users can also generate their own models thanks to a downloadable tool also available with the platform.
However, after already closing the mobile apps, Microsoft is shutting all these features down. Consequently, if customers still have content to model in Photosynth, they have around four months to do it. Microsoft says it is focusing on developing other photo-experience solutions:
“We regularly review our portfolio of products and evaluate customer use and feedback to adjust our areas of investment based on how our services are being used. We understand that innovative photo experiences are important and are committed to development efforts in the experiences that mean the most to our customers.”
Saving Microsoft Photosynth Data
Users with created “synths” probably do not want to lose their work. Microsoft says it is allowing customers to download their creations on Windows and Mac computers. This lets them save their synths and panoramas locally on a device.
How to download your synths and view them offline:
- First install the new offline viewer from download.microsoft.com using this link for Windows or this link for Mac. Note that this viewer supports both panoramas and “Tech Preview” synths. Unfortunately, we do not have an offline viewer for the original synths.
- Go to https://photosynth.net, and sign-in to your Photosynth account.
- Click “My Photosynths”.
- Click on one of your panoramas or Tech Preview synths, and look for the “Export” button shown below. If you do not see the export button it is because you are not signed in, or you are not the owner.
- Clicking the Export button will cause the pano or synth to be packaged for export. This may take a few minutes, especially if the synth is very large. You will see the button change to “Export Requested”, and sometime later it will change to “Download” signaling that the packaging has completed and your synth or pano is ready to download. (Note that you do NOT need to stay on the page waiting for the packaging to complete; you can return to your library and schedule another synth or pano for export while you are waiting.)
- Click Download and wait for the file to be downloaded to your computer. Depending on the size of your pano or synth, and the speed of your connection this could take minutes or even hours.
- Finally, use the new offline Photosynth viewer you installed in step 1 to open this downloaded file.