Following up on an announcement it made last month, Facebook has started deploying 360-degree photos that any user can upload just like a regular image. Images will show an animated “360” icon on feeds to let the user’s friends know that they can play around with them, said the social media giant.
How will Facebook fix incomplete panoramas?
Users simply need to capture a panorama on their phone or take a photo with a camera (like the Ricoh Theta S) or proper 360-degree app, and then upload it just like any other image, says the social networking site.
“The big difference with 360 photos is you can take them with your phone,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page. “Just take a panorama or use a 360 camera app, then post it to Facebook and we’ll take care of the rest.”
However, it is not yet certain how the company will manage incomplete panoramas. A user-taken panorama rarely goes all the way around, so it is not clear whether the social media giant will just allow photos for partial views or try to interpret such images as a wraparound image.
In September, the social networking site added 360-degree video, and the updated version still works similarly. Users can click and drag with their mouse and move their phone around to look over a scene. The merit for photos is that almost anyone can capture them as most have either an iOS or Android smartphone.
Support for some VR headsets too
According to Facebook, users will be able to watch 360-degree photos with VR headsets too. In addition, if a user has a Gear VR headset and a Samsung device, they can tap the “View in VR” button on the top-left corner. Unfortunately, Google Cardboard has not added support yet. Hopefully, it will add support soon as Google Cardboard is much more accessible.
With the accessibility of 360-degree photos on Facebook, virtual reality can be promoted on a wider angle. Also users can spot the immersive 360-degree photos in their News Feed by looking for a compass icon on the right-hand side of the photo. Starting yesterday, 360-degree photos from a few partners like the NASA and The New York Times can be viewed on the web, Android and iOS. However, the social networking site says users will have to wait a few more days to upload their own.