Microsoft, EveryScape Team Up to Provide 3-D Views of Restaurants Online

6/7/10Follow @gthuang

The next time you’re trying to pick a place to go out to eat, you might have more information at your fingertips than just reviews, photos, and menus. A Boston-area company called EveryScape has teamed up with Microsoft’s Bing Maps to deliver 3-D panoramic views of restaurants—both interiors and exteriors—on the Web.

EveryScape, based in Waltham, MA, is announcing today a new online app, which it developed using the Bing Maps software development kit. The technology uses high-resolution graphics and animation effects to give consumers a “walk-through” immersive experience as they browse restaurants on the Web. Financial details of the agreement weren’t given, but the map app is being rolled out initially for Boston-area restaurants, with other major cities to follow later this year. As of today, the company says its software shows the insides of 500-plus restaurants around Boston, and exterior 3-D views of more than 1,300.

It’s all part of a trend of increasing competition at the intersection of local search, online maps, and 3-D image-based graphics. Google Maps’ Street View feature, for instance, provides panoramic views of a large (and growing) number of outdoor locations worldwide. Microsoft is known for Photosynth, its technology for creating 3-D virtual environments from collections of photographs. Bing Maps already incorporates some aspects of Photosynth, as well as “streetside” and “bird’s eye” visuals. Meanwhile, little old EveryScape competes with the big boys on the quality of these kinds of visuals, at least in some locations.

Which is why today’s news is particularly important for the small company. EveryScape’s new app, which was developed in a “strategic relationship” with Microsoft, “further validates” its strategy of delivering real-world experiences to consumers and businesses online, says Mok Oh, the founder and chief technology officer of EveryScape, in a statement. Oh adds that the new software brings “the power of Bing location search to EveryScape’s visual guides.”

The relationship also makes sense for Microsoft, which is trying to compete more strongly with Google Maps for market share in search and location-based services. “We are thrilled to work with EveryScape to deliver a map app that brings users inside for a truly immersive experience,” says Chris Pendleton, technical evangelist for Bing Maps, in a company statement.

EveryScape was founded in 2002 (formerly known as Mok3), and is led by CEO Jim Schoonmaker. The company raised $7 million in Series B venture funding in 2008. Its investors include SK Telecom Americas, Dace Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Draper Fisher New England, Draper Atlantic, and Launchpad Venture Group.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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