Microsoft Live Labs has developed a product called Photosynth. Video link below–oddly enough they don’t want to use YouTube…
Basically the technology takes a set of pictures (yours and from the Internet) and stitches them together into a 3-d structure that you can “walk” around inside of. You can zoom in on individual pictures or see them all together so you get the feeling of physically being surrounded by the image.
I’m not sure how useful this technology is, but it is undeniably cool. I don’t think I feel like I’ve been to St. Peter’s Basilica, even though I watched that video. Photosynth is not going to replace tourism. I don’t think anything I do on my computer is going to replace the real thing anytime soon. It does make me want to visit the Basilica, however. And maybe that’s the point. Did Microsoft get in bed with the travel industry?