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Google Buys Quicksee, Get Ready For “Virtual Tours” Of Places, Products, People

We’ve all seen “virtual tours” of open houses on real-estate sites. What if every location, every restaurant, store, museum, theme park ride and airport had a virtual tour on Google Maps? In three or four years that may be the case as a result of the acquisition of an Israeli company called MentorWave Technologies (or Quicksee), for approximately $10 million.

Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz first reported the acquisition yesterday.

Quicksee makes it fairly simple for individuals to create “virtual tours” of locations, things and experiences. Obviously this is directed toward Google Maps/Earth (see ideo below) but may go well beyond Maps to product tours and other applications as well.

Right now Google uses StreetView cars (or trikes) to capture exteriors and outdoor locations. The company has also been sending still photographers to document building and store interiors. Quicksee would potentially speed that process dramatically by enabling user-generated tours (which can be done today but not simply and uniformly).

Here’s how Quicksee describes itself:

Founded in late 2004, Quiksee is a privately held start-up company, established to develop, manufacture, and market comprehensive interactive media solutions utilizing its proprietary imaging technology. Our multi-disciplinary team includes scientists and engineers in the fields of new media, networking and optical technologies, and hardware/software integration. Several of our executives and researchers have past experience working in organizations such as Microsoft, Orbotech, and Medcon. Their valuable experience places Quiksee in a formidable market position and allows us to pursue the innovations we are so passionate about.

Based in Herzliya Pituach, one of Israel’s leading high-tech centers, Quiksee works closely with its business clients & media partners to provide customized immersive visual experiences designed to meet their specific requirements. Quiksee aims to become a world leader in the visual documentation market, providing state-of-the-art technologies for people and organizations looking for simple, efficient, and cost-effective visual solutions.

The video immediately below looks as though a Quicksee employee put together a demo of how Quicksee and Google Maps would integrate (perhaps to pitch the technology to Google). It gives us a bit of a glimpse into the future of Google Maps:

Boston-based Everyscape can do a version of this today with still photography. And Everyscape is set to roll out a number of partnerships in the local segment soon (ie., directories).

Microsoft has Photosynth and has demonstrated video integration and live streaming in maps. So Google won’t be the only one offering more dynamic and interactive interior photography in the not-too-distant future.

I would also fully expect Quicksee tours to be integrated to be showcased in Google Maps for Mobile as well.

by Greg Sterling

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