360-degree photos and videos are becoming a thing slowly, with mainstream options such as the LG 360 Cam launching this month, and the Samsung Gear 360 not too far off. One thing lacking so far has been mainstream support, but according to a new report, Facebook may be about to launch support for 360-degree photos launching the format into the limelight.
The major problem for users with a 360-degree camera or even just people wanting to share a photosphere has always been sharing their images. You could use Google’s options, through Google+, StreetView or the newly announced VR View format, or even using Flickr, but the lack of an easy way to share 360-degree photos has been a pretty major barrier. Facebook has been slowly accepting VR with support for videos and now it looks like they’re about launch 360-degree photo support.
Slashgear has spoken with Facebook and is advising:
Facebook 360 Photos will arrive in the next few weeks, supporting uploading a 360 or panoramic image from a smartphone or 360-degree camera like Samsung’s Gear 360 or Ricoh’s Theta S. That content can be viewed by dragging the photo around with a finger or mouse, or – if you’re using the Facebook mobile app – by tilting your phone around.
If you have Gear VR, though, you’ll be able to load the image and move your head to look around it. Meanwhile, come June there’ll be a new way of accessing all this too, with a redesign for Oculus Home on Gear VR. That should make it easier to access recently-played games and experiences, among other things.
There is limited availability in Australia currently for 360-degree video with the Ricoh Theta S, 360Fly currently available. The LG 360 Cam is launching this month, though still isn’t available through Harvey Norman, and reportedly the Gear 360 is launching in other countries soon, so hopefully won’t be too far away in Australia. With Facebook on board, these cameras could get a shot in the arm in terms of sales.
According to TechCrunch the feature will be called 360 Photos and will allow anyone to upload flat panoramas, Photospheres, or photos from 360 cameras to Facebook. After processing, the photos will be able to be viewed as360° photos in users News Feed, where Facebook users will be able to drag, pan and tilt with their mouse, or move their heads around in the Gear VR.
Usage will be fairly broad with TechCrunch saying
360 Photos made from panoramas could democratize VR content creation by allowing people to make it with no special equipment. They’ll just need an iPhone running iOS 6 or later, an Android running v4.2 or later, or one of many 360 photo apps available for download. In fact, many people will have already created this content, which before was tough to view.