Microsoft Photosynth arrives, and Marketplace continues its roll

Your phone’s camera just got a lot more exciting. Capping an impressive month for Marketplace (back to that in a second), the free and much-anticipated Photosynth app for Windows Phone has arrived. Download it now

What’s Photosynth? Simply put, it’s a Microsoft technology for creating majestic 3D panoramas from plain old 2D shots. Although that summary doesn’t quite do justice to how magical Photosynth is. Marketplace is already home to several solid panorama apps. But as the Photosynth team notes on its blog today, there’s nothing out there quite like this: It’s the only mobile app that can piece together a full panoramic sphere (that’s 360 degrees horizontally and vertically.)

A Photosynth image of Mt. Baker in Washington state

Originally dreamed up by a squad of PhDs at Microsoft Research, Photosynth intelligently sews together your separate snapshots into one immersive scene, recreating the drama and detail of what your eyes actually see. It’s hard to appreciate until you see a few “synths” for yourself. This one of Pulpit Rock in Norway gives me the heebie-jeebies when I pan down. Other favorites include Machu Picchu and the Seattle Japanese Garden.

The new Windows Phone app (pictured below) makes it easy to create synths of your own, then publish your panorama to the Photosynth site or share it via Facebook and Twitter. Check out the Bing and Next at Microsoft blogs for more on the new app.

The new Microsoft Photosynth app makes it possible to construct 3D panoramas from all your 2D snapshotsThe new Microsoft Photosynth app makes it possible to construct 3D panoramas from all your 2D snapshotsThe new Microsoft Photosynth app makes it possible to construct 3D panoramas from all your 2D snapshots

Speaking of big pictures, Photosynth wasn’t the only exciting Marketplace news this month. In case you missed it, a parade of major new apps and app updates continue to roll in. Other notable new May additions included LinkedIn and AboutOne, a popular family organizer and Windows Phone exclusive. The official Facebook app for Windows Phone just received a beefy update. So did WhatsApp, which added a profile picture option you won’t currently find on the iPhone or Android versions. That’s right: Some developers are introducing new features on the Windows Phone version of their app first.

There’s also great stuff on the way, as Nokia made clear earlier this month. Rovio’s Angry Birds Space and EA titles including Madden NFL, NBA Jam, and Tiger Woods PGA TOUR are all en route. Ditto for PayPal and TIME Magazine apps. Nokia is also lining up Lumia-exclusive versions of apps like ESPN and Groupon that are already available in Marketplace.

Finally, there are a handful of other efforts underway that Marketplace shoppers will appreciate. I’ve mentioned the growing list of 99-cent Xbox LIVE games in other posts. Ongoing behind-the-scenes improvements, meanwhile, are designed to make top apps easier to find when you search.

To scan this tag, open Bing on your phone, then tap the eye icon to start Bing Vision.  To scan this tag, open Bing on your phone, then tap the eye icon to start Bing Vision.