! Warning: this post hasn't been updated in over three years and so may contain out of date information.
For a while now, a couple of Microsoft researchers – Curtis Wong and Jonathan Fay – have been beavering away on a project that no one (publicly) knew about. Five days ago, Robert Scoble of Scobleize.com was shown it and blogged about how great it was, but how he wasn’t going to tell anyone
what it was until after the 27th. This set of a storm of speculation and caused Wong and Fay no small amount of grief
. Also Scoble let slip that the 27th was tied in with TED
. The intense speculation continued, someone at Microsoft buckled, and the story got out. It’s probably a fancy new product called “WorldWide Telescope”,
that uses Photosynth
to allow the user to pan across the sky and zoom in on distant galaxies and the like.
This little story is a good object lesson for Scoble and us all. When you are shown something in confidence, keep your mouth shut! Saying “I know a secret and I’m not sharing” will always get more attention than just telling the secret. As another blog put it, Scoble has over-hyped this product so much, people are going to be disappointed with the reality. It now faces a struggle for survival before it’s even born. Shame really as it sounds quite a cool – if pointless – application.
With the announcement on Thursday 21st February that Microsoft have given in to EU and open source pressure and opened up their APIs and comms protocols, attention may shift from this over-hyped project. No doubt Wong and Fay will sigh a huge sigh of relief if it does.