Startup building searchable online tours of world

Online tourism takes off

EveryScape Tuesday introduced an interactive, searchable Web site aimed at allowing people to "immerse" themselves in different parts of the world via virtual tours and with access to content created by other visitors.

The site aims to provide a realistic backdrop of photos of city streets, restaurants, real estate, shops and schools that users can explore both inside and out while interacting with other users, the company said.

A prototype tour of San Francisco, the first page slated to be completed, is now available on the Web site, company officials said. Work on the San Francisco pages will be completed in September, the company said. By the end of the year, EveryScape plans to add nine more cities to the site, it said.

The prototype San Francisco pages let users "walk" through the city's Union Square, take in the contents in the windows of various stores, tour the inside of stores, access published reviews and add their own comments. Users also can add their own visual representations, like a "for rent" sign and a tour of an apartment, the company said.

EveryScape uses tools from HyperMedia Technology to let users capture images with a digital camera that can be uploaded to EveryScape for processing, This will allow local users to build out a visual library of content that the company said eventually will encompass the entire world.

"Building the online world is a massive undertaking," said Jim Schoomaker, president and CEO of Massachusetts, U.S.-based EveryScape in a statement. "And no one company or technology can do it alone -- nor should they. We are on a quest to help build the 'People's World.' That means we must use a simple and scalable approach that allows any person to participate on their terms."

By the end of this year, the company said, it plans to add online representations of Boston, New York, Seattle, Chicago and five more cities whose selection will be based on the results of an online user vote.

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