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Google Nabs Bing Maps Architect 94

theodp writes "In another case of Microsoft's-loss-is-Google's-gain, GeekWire reports that Google has made a big hire from Microsoft, bringing aboard TED crowd-pleaser Blaise Agüera y Arcas, the well-known software architect and designer who was among the Redmond company's elite ranks of distinguished engineers. Known for his work on services including Photosynth and Bing Maps, Agüera y Arcas called the move 'the hardest decision of my life'. A stunning preview of Photosynth was released by Microsoft last week, and TED just released a video of Agüera y Arcas demonstrating the technology at a conference earlier this year."
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Google Nabs Bing Maps Architect

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  • Retaining talent (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @02:01PM (#45716403)

    Microsoft pays well, but the way it treats employees is pretty bad. I am so glad I got out of that place.

  • by Kaenneth ( 82978 ) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @02:05PM (#45716455) Homepage Journal

    Witnesses described it as 'chair shaped'.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    he left because he hates Windows 8.

    • Not just Windows 8 (Score:4, Interesting)

      by BenJeremy ( 181303 ) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @02:40PM (#45716953)

      Actually, I heard he hates Visual Studio 2012 even more. Something about using bland, similar monochromatic icons tends to bother people who work with image processing and innovate the field using all that wonderful color information in those images.

      Same difference though... some idiot exec at Microsoft has decided the world needs Fisher-price Playschool operating systems and development tools.

  • I am waiting for the headline that Ballmer has decided to move to Google !!!!
    • by rwyoder ( 759998 )

      I am waiting for the headline that Ballmer has decided to move to Google !!!!

      Why do you hate Google? :-(

  • The new Photosynth looks less impressive than the original one that allowed you to move arbitrarily around a point cloud. What they have now is less sophisticated than Google street view and essentially pointless with the ubiquitous availability of video recorders.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Google Streetview is realised with equipment $200k (Car, GPS, Lidar, IMU), while Photosynth is done with public pictures on the web, most likely taken with cameras around $1k.

      • Google also does that. They integrate panoramia pictures in some locations.

        Go to "Old Tucson Studios" in google maps (not the preview). Grab the man and drag him to a spot on the map. You will get pictures of the different buildings. In some you can click on other areas which will transition to another picture a different person too. You can move around like this. It's all from public pictures.

        Google hasn't integrated this into the preview yet, so they clearly don't know what to do with it yet.

    • Are you insane? This is leaps and bounds better than the stuff you find in streetview. They extract common objects out of images and move them out of a 2D plane and into the 3D space. If anything, this would be amazing if added to streetview.

      I was going through some of the new synths, and I truly felt like I was walking through a 3d environment.
  • I heard he got fired already. He tried to use Siri to get directions to his new office. He's in Belgium now.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Some people really don't have any real problems.

    If the hardest decision is whether to work for one nasty tech gorilla or another slightly younger but turning out just as nasty tech gorilla, you've never really done anything of relevance to humankind.

    • If you mean other than having a direct effect on millions of web users then yeah, he's done nothing for mankind.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    From everything (and I mean it, everything) I read about working conditions and the environment in Microsoft, it's a place unfriendly to creative guys, and those who question authority. In general, it seems an unhealthy place to work, regardless of the good salary.

  • ...I am waiting for for a free programm and an adapter, where you snap an android phone to the new kinect, connect it to a battery pack and record really impressive 3d scenes (hopefully it get's exported as an usable 3d format)!
  • Overrated (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @03:12PM (#45717323)

    I used to work with this guy and he is incredibly overrated. He's been the architect of Bing Maps for 5 years. What earth shattering innovations has he led in that time? Somebody above mentioned that this 'incredible' v2 Photosynth 1) isn't even as good as v1 and 2) has never been developed into anything more useful than a TED demo. He worked on the same team as Gur Kimchi, the guy behind the Amazon delivery drones. Between the two of them, they are the king and queen of vaporware. Neither one produced a damn thing in 6 years at Microsoft, so fuck it Google can have him. He's a one man hype machine.

  • The Photosynth demos look nice, but surely there's a point where it becomes simpler just to shoot an HD video of your "walk" (or "spin") rather than having to reconstruct all those intermediate frames?

    Photosynth may be useful if you didn't think of that beforehand, but since those demo images were presumably taken specifically to demonstrate Photosynth, it seems a bit of a waste of time - like demonstrating your colourisation program on a black and white version of a colour movie.

    • You realize there is a 3D model build in the background, right?
      You get nice pictures, simulated walk video AND a 3D model of a place.

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @06:48PM (#45719817)

    ... up for bid. Any takers? Anyone?

    [Sound of crickets]

  • > the hardest decision of my life

    Cut the guy some slack. You environmentalists should love him -- I'm sure his decision was very, very Green.

"If you lived today as if it were your last, you'd buy up a box of rockets and fire them all off, wouldn't you?" -- Garrison Keillor