The View From 32


SEPTEMBER 4, 2007  

Panoramas galore

Panoramic photo of Great Wall of China

Today's selection from VeryShortList was a site that features panoramic views of world landmarks called the New 7 Wonders of the World. In my view the "New 7 Wonders" designation is marketing hype more than anything else, but take a look at the panos, if you'd like. They're described as "immersive," a buzzword often associated with websites and "new media" of all sorts.

I don't know. Panoramic photos have been around since the late 1800s, as seen in this 1864 photo by George N. Barnard (from Wikipedia):

Panoramic photo of Lookout Mountain, 1864

QuicktimeVR—which Apple modestly calls the "definitive immersive experience"—and other technologies have added the ability to scroll and zoom the images, but fundamentally we're still looking at a panoramic photo. I don't feel any more "immersed" than I do when studying the scenes in a 10-foot long Chinese scroll at the art museum.

More interesting to me are the "news" panoramas found at the same website. Brad and Angelina arriving at the Cannes Film Festival. A demonstration in Toulouse, France protesting the firing of 10,000 workers by Airbus. A ceremony honoring the victims of the Virginia Tech shootings.

I'm not sure exactly what we gain from this wider look at news events, but somehow this use of the technology seems more interesting than yet another widescreen landscape. Except for Brangelina, that is.

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