This is where Microsoft are upto with Photosyth (http://labs.live.com/photosynth/) which has been slowly evolving from spectacular beginings not so long ago. The tech preview looks pretty much as I remember it, there are just the 5 collections still and things work as before. I wonder now if it has progressed much at all actually - even so it is still very clever. One improvement it should have is a way for me to navigate the 3D model without trying to click my way around the image-set. If I could navigate in 3D into the building first - then see the interior that would be great. Even so, the whole thing is a very clever idea...
[screengrab of photosyth in action]
One of the interesting things about this project is the system requirements (http://labs.live.com/photosynth/sysreq.htm?collection=sanmarco/index1.sxs) required to run the demo. With not only decent base system specs, but more particlularly the graphics. This trend to higher grahics needs (Vista, Google Earth, Second Life, Sketchup, Photosynth and many many more) is changing what all computer users will expect out of their hardware. Soon serious gaming level grunt will not be the domain of the 'gamer' but a basic expectation of all.
The gapminder site (http://www.gapminder.org/) shows off the wonderful interface they have built for us to see a whole raft the data and statistics of the world. And who should be behind the interface and bringing data to us all but the might of Google (http://tools.google.com/gapminder/).
The tools let us see over time in beautiful graphical ways relationships between countries in a range of stats. Seeing comparisons and trends like the examples below. The interface is lovely.
[screengrabs of gapminder in action]