Facebook says in the coming weeks, it will allow you to upload and view 360-degree photos on the web and mobile devlices. Just like 360-degree videos, a user will be able to click and drag to explore an environment on their PC or move around their smartphone as if the screen were a viewfinder.

After 360 Videos, Facebook Brings 360 Photos To News Feed

Working similar to 360-degree videos

Facebook’s new feature will function similarly to 360-degree videos. The social media giant is trying to portray itself as a destination to explore distant places, and this feature is an essential part of the mission. Also it is connected to the social network’s Oculus VR, which is pushing for more live-action video and photography that you can experience with Rift headsets and Gear VR.

In a blog post, Oculus VR announced that in the coming weeks, it “will add 360 photos to News Feed. You’ll be able to take a panoramic photo from your phone or use a 360 camera, upload it to Facebook and pan around by tilting your phone or dragging the image.”

People will be able to explore 360-degree photos from the Oculus 360-degree Photos app, and they can view a 360-degree photo on their Samsung phones by clicking the button in the top left corner (it says “view in VR”), says the blog post.

“Imagine standing in the middle of a colorful parade at the Rio Carnival, or letting family from far away feel like they’re part of that special birthday gathering,” the blog post adds.

All to encourage users spent more time on Facebook

The 360-degree video feature has been available on Facebook since September, but it will take time for users and creators to embrace the new format en masse. The social networking site is now making its platform friendlier to photos that can be clicked with a smartphone rather than an expensive video rig.

Facebook is urging people to upload as many videos and photos as possible. This new update will allow users to upload panoramas captured with smartphone cameras and photos clicked using 360-degree photo-spheres made with third-party apps.

The social media giant unveiled a reference design for a new 17-camera array called Facebook Surround 360 during its annual F8 developer’s conference. The social networking site is hoping that third-party manufacturers will create their own 360-degree cameras using the blueprints. The more photos and videos that make their way onto Facebook, the more time people will spend on the network.