Microsoft has decided to retire its Photosynth mobile app. The company explains the move by saying its latest Photosynth Preview tool “is a more immersive way to capture a place than the spherical panoramas that our apps produce.”
Update: Microsoft is also killing off its MSN Food & Drink, MSN Health & Fitness, and MSN Travel apps. Please see the update below for more details.
“We regularly evaluate our business to ensure we’re focused on the areas where our users find the most value,” a Microsoft spokesperson told VentureBeat. “We will continue to support those apps with broad consumer appeal including News, Weather, Sports, and Money, which will be made available as apps on Windows 10 and will remain cross platform.”
Photosynth was born out of Microsoft Live Labs and the University of Washington. The tool analyzes digital photographs and generates a 3D model of the photos using pattern recognition.
At the time of writing, the iOS app has already been pulled from Apple’s App Store. The Windows Phone app is still available on the Windows Phone Store, though it will probably disappear soon. This means you can continue using the apps as long as you don’t uninstall them from your device. An Android app was never released.
Here’s the full Photosynth announcement:
Today we are announcing that we are retiring the Photosynth mobile apps. We are doing this because the new Photosynth Preview technology and its cloud processing is a more immersive way to capture a place than the spherical panoramas that our apps produce.
What this means to you:
If you use the Photosynth Windows Phone App or the Photosynth iOS App you can continue to use it, but it is now officially unsupported, and will not be maintained going forward. Both apps will be withdrawn from their respective stores.
Because the app is now unsupported, we strongly encourage people to upload their panoramas to Photosynth.net. Photosynth.net is still maintained and you will be able to view your panoramas online with or without the Photosynth app. Panoramas can be made public, or kept unlisted to protect your privacy. Details of our privacy model are here: https://photosynth.net/privacy.aspx
Aside from that, Microsoft isn’t sharing much more detail. The official Photosynth Blog hasn’t been updated in five months.
We have contacted Microsoft for more information, and we’ll update you if we hear back.
Update at 10:15AM PST: Microsoft tells us Photosynth isn’t the only product that is losing its app. MSN Food & Drink, MSN Health & Fitness, and MSN Travel are also being killed off over the next few months.
This is part of Microsoft’s broader strategy to prune parts of the company that aren’t performing up to par. We’d argue that the timing of these two is almost coincidental: Photosynth and the MSN apps, which were previously Bing branded, have very little in common.
Photosynth is a very cool technology that has been around for years, and really should be integrated into, say, the camera app on Windows Phone. The MSN apps meanwhile only arrived on third-party platforms this past December. To be frank, they probably should never have launched.
Unlike the Photosynth announcement, Microsoft sent out an email today to users of its MSN apps. Here is the full text:
We wanted to let you know of some changes. Three of our MSN apps will be discontinued this fall along with some features on the MSN Food & Drink and MSN Health & Fitness websites.
If you have stored any of your data in the apps or on the affected websites, please read important instructions below to retrieve that data before the apps and features are discontinued and your data Is no longer accessible.
MSN Food & Drink, MSN Health & Fitness and MSN Travel apps will be discontinued
- The MSN Food & Drink app on Windows, iOS and Android devices will be discontinued on September 28, 2015.
- The MSN Health & Fitness app on Windows, iOS and Android devices will be discontinued on November 1, 2015.
- The MSN Travel app will be discontinued on September 28, 2015.
These MSN apps will be removed from their respective app stores in the same timeframe as the dates above and will no longer be accessible from your phone, desktop, and tablet devices. Although the apps are being removed, you’ll still find a wealth of content in the Health & Fitness, Travel and Food & Drink sections of the MSN.com website. Here, you’ll find the latest news and special features for all three of these interests.
You can also continue to use our other four apps — MSN News, MSN Weather, MSN Sports and MSN Money — and to find them in their respective app stores.
MSN Food & Drink and MSN Health & Fitness website changes
- The Shopping List and Collections features on the MSN Food & Drink website will be discontinued on September 28, 2015.
- The Diet Tracker and Cardio Tracker on the MSN Health and Fitness website will be discontinued on November 1, 2015.
How to keep your data
Once these apps and MSN website features are discontinued, the information you’ve stored in them will no longer be available. If you’d like to keep your data, please take a few moments before the discontinuation date to store it elsewhere. This data includes the following:
- MSN Food & Drink: Shopping List, Collections, Meal Plans and any personal recipes you have added
- MSN Health & Fitness: Diet Tracker, Cardio Tracker, Pedometer and Favorites
- MSN Travel: Favorites
For more details on how to save or migrate this data, please click here for tips and instructions.
Thank you for using our apps as well as our website features — and we hope to see you soon at MSN.com.