Saturday 16 December 2017

Google launches 360-degree photo app for iPhone

Google logo
Google logo

Matthew Sparkes

Google has launched an iOS version of its Photo Sphere app which takes 360-degree images and stitches them together to make immersive panoramas that can be uploaded to Google Maps.

Previously the app was only available on Google’s own Android platform, having launched around a year ago. The move is part of Google’s drive to attract users to its services even when they haven’t adopted its operating system.

To take an image you simply open the app and move the camera when instructed to enclose a superimposed yellow dot with a white circle. In this way the app can tell you which area needs to be photographed next. Once you have finished, the image can be uploaded to Google Views. They can also be made to be searchable by users scrolling around in Google Maps using a GPS geolocation marker.

Unlike the built-in panorama feature provided by Apple’s Camera app, Google’s Photo Spheres allow you to scroll around the resulting image as you see fit, which is much more immersive than a stitched-together 2D photograph.

There are minor glitcheswith missing limbs, extra limbs or people appearing more than once if they were walking as the image was taken.

Another downside is that they are less adaptable: you can’t use a Photo Sphere as a Facebook profile picture, for example, and you have to view it via Google’s app or website. It is possible to email a link to the Photo Sphere, but the recipient would have to be online to view it.

It also raises the possibility that should Google eventually cease to exist – which admittedly does not look likely right now – your images could also be lost. It is not possible to back them up as you could with photographs.

The Photo Sphere app for iPhone and iPad is available now for free on the App Store.

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