Using Pictures To Determine Your Location?
Ironically, just before I wrote this post, my wife asked me, "Is there a way I can go into my contacts in Outlook, and click on a "show map" button for one of my contacts?" The answer is actually, "Yes" but it's buried so far in sub-menus that most people don't know about it. (click "Read More" to learn how.) It's frustrating that Microsoft sometimes makes the costly and redundant easy, while making the intuitive and useful difficult.
So you wanna look up maps from your Outlook Contacts list? Select the contact, open it (as if to edit), click on the Actions menu, and choose Display Map. That will take you to MSFT Live Search, and an AJAX-based map with some useful tools. You would think Microsoft would make it easier, since it can drive more traffic to their web properties.
BTW, I know the science of what the researchers are doing is interesting, and the "building recognition" may be useful in other ways. But the researchers should have some responsibility to relate their ideas to actual real world uses, not just technology for technology's sake. If I were funding that research, I'd want each labcoat to give me a top 3 list of the ways his idea could be realistically deployed. You wouldn't have to be right in 5 years, but it would have to make sense today. Here's a couple:
1) Public safety could match buildings to addresses, so firemen would know what the building their rushing to looks like before they get there, because it's displayed in a LCD screen in the fire truck. (the LCD could display all known data about the building). MSFT matches the address to the images, and provides the images for display.
2) For driving directions on MSN.com, they could provide a photo of the destination address, so that you can recognize it more safely than checking for small address numbers.
3) For photo organizing sites like shutterbug, etc, the MSFT service could match your photos to the locations they were taken, and automatically tag them with meta information.
OK, that's three, and I've been thinking about it for 2 minutes. I may be smart, but the MSFT labcoats are surely smarter. So get some realistic ideas, already!