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Microsoft Zoom.it (Bitly for Hi-res images) (zoom.it)
79 points by matthewphiong on Aug 6, 2010 | hide | past | favorite | 37 comments

This is very interesting from a technical perspective. Its all being done with js and xhr requests. Its powered by Seadragon( http://seadragon.com/developer/ ) and apparently Zoom.it is just a new rename.

Careful. It’s not just a rename. It’s quite possibly the first evidence that Microsoft can actually release a useful, minimalistic, non-Passport-requiring, tiny, beautiful, non-.aspx-exposing, cross-browser web service. :)

Something like this would be quite useful with a real-time source/feed of images/video. Or connect remotely to your home camera and spy on your neighborhood.

Seriously though, there should exist an implementation like this (at least from security firms or NSA/CIA).

As far as I remember, Microsoft moved continued development of Seadragon AJAX from the Live Labs team to the ASP.NET team last year. It's interesting to see Live Labs continuing on the consumer side.

Seadragon was created by Blaise Aguera y Arcas.

He works at Microsoft and has done some pretty cool stuff.

His TED talks: http://www.ted.com/speakers/blaise_aguera_y_arcas.html

I've had an idea for an image/bit.ly service for a while ... it goes something like this:

- You upload a high/low res image

- You have to specify one of the creative commons or other standard licenses

- There's a short URL, API, geo-tagging, and sharing/embedding options

- Attribution is stamped on the image and included in the embed code

The idea is that journalists/citizen-journalists (and possibly artists/creatives) can share work and include much more explicit usage/attribution rules. News wires have access to a constant feed of good images.


I like the idea, and I apologize for having nothing more productive to say other than 'sounds quite a bit like Flickr.'

Flickr has all of these features. Their main purpose is to host photographs, but with the rise of info-graphics (good stuff and bad stuff here) and other forms of picture-media, there could be a good place for a service to take up this new market segment.

Good point re:Flickr ... my though is that it would have a much better signal-to-noise ratio for those seeking such images ...

As it turns out, there are already a couple of sites similar to zoom.it [1]. However, it should be interesting to see if zoom.it gains substantial traction, and how. I suspect that the fact it's Microsoft releasing something lightweight and useful will make this an interesting news story. This is seeming to be confirmed by Twitter showing a steady stream of links to it, and its gaining a lot of buzz on social media sites.

But, we'll see. It's possible that there just isn't enough demand for this type of thing, yet.

[1] http://www.moreofit.com/similar-to/zoom.it

This is great! It reminds me of Zoomworld, described by Jef Raskin in his book The Humane Interface, and even the Demo picture on the front page demonstrates some of those ideas.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zooming_user_interface http://www.amazon.com/Humane-Interface-Directions-Designing-...

Look Microsoft, you can create useful dynamic web services without requiring Flash, I mean Silverlight.

Actually... "Zoom.it runs on Windows Azure and enhances the experience with Microsoft Silverlight when available."

From the "About" page.

I don’t have Silverlight and it runs just fine here. (Yup, it’s all in my DOM!) Using Silverlight when installed is fine by me — theoretically, it’s going to run faster than having a browser scale tens of images tens of times a second.

I do have Silverlight installed and I couldn't seem to get the site to use Silverlight. Still all DOM as far as I could tell.

It reverts to silverlight if you are using IE (of course, :) )

As noted by RRW here http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/microsoft_introduces_so...

It works on your iPad/Phone/Pod too!

Look Microsoft, you can create useful dynamic web services without requiring Flash, I mean Silverlight

Microsoft "invented" XMLHttpRequest for their Outlook Web client.

Bing Maps doesn't require Silverlight. Some people even prefer it over Google Maps.

Given that Microsoft has been creating useful dynamic web services without Flash or Silverlight for some time, I don't they were particularly shocked by their ability to create this one.

Independent of the product's merits; it's fascinating to see a large corporation experiment with the concept of "MVP".

This is pretty cool. I designed something similar for my previous employer that took a very large image of a map and scaled it and sliced it into squares. The resulting images were then used as a custom map with the Google Maps API.


Thats pretty cool. First one to come up with a site that shows a bunch of examples wins a bunch of easy traffic.

Wow, all those glyphs and still no padlock or play/pause/fast-forward symbols! *

That’s a very cool one, dmd. Would be even better if (like ZoomWorld), sections were labeled in huge text, and more information were available next to each symbol.

* Edit: There is a glyph that could stand in if you use your imagination. ꉩ "YI SYLLABLE NGO" http://alanhogan.com/images/Coincidental_pictograms-20100806... (though it doesn’t always look like that. http://www.fileformat.info/info/unicode/char/A269/index.htm)

25B6 could be used as play.

I don't see any embed link. That would be great.


"You get the Zoom.it short URL, an embeddable viewer, as well as the underlying DZI and surrounding metadata."

They display an embed link under the image on the short-url page, if you create one, but not for the images on the home page slideshow/demo. I agree, it's confusing and masks the functionality.

E.G. NASA's Visible Earth Night Lights: http://zoom.it/333

I love how the embed API is a <script> tag whose src= attribute is the URL of the zoom.it image page, with ".js" appended (and a height dimension). Love it. Very simple.

Pretty neat, I'm glad they didn't use silverlight

Here's mine: http://zoom.it/ERnN#full

Not Silverlight based, appears to be all Javascript. That's interesting coming from MS themselves.

I wish you could annotate in there.

The artificial inertia is pretty annoying. Have these guys ever used an iPhone in their lives?

The iPhone uses two fingers which enables much more accurate/rapid scaling. The mouse is a compromise in comparison, hence the added inertia.

Funny, online maps work fine without inertia.

I just noticed the other day that Google Maps on the web recently added flicking and deceleration. It's a nice, new touch.

I found it to be a nice touch. Do you find the artificial inertia in iPhone scrolling annoying? I think they both add a little 'flavor' to the UI experience.

I think the key difference is that the iPhone uses inertia only for deceleration. Acceleration should always feel snappy and instantaneous; the relationship between the mouse pointer and the image should be nailed until the user lets go of the button.

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