Facebook Introduces 360 Photos – The Next Step in the VR Shift

On Thursday, Facebook launched “360 photos,” a new supported format for uploading smartphone panoramas and images taken with certain 360-degree cameras and photo apps. Making the announcement with a Facebook post, Zuckerberg wrote.“ These are similar to 360 videos — you can tilt your phone and feel like you’re actually there.” Facebook will automatically convert these flat photos into interactive images that you’ll be able to view in fullscreen by tilting your smartphone using the Facebook apps for iOS and Android.

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“The big difference with 360 photos is you can take them with your phone. Just take a panorama or use a 360 camera app, then post it to Facebook and we’ll take care of the rest.” Assures Zuckerberg.

Back in September, Facebook had previously allowed users to upload 360 videos. You need a special set of cameras in order to record every angle of a scene at once, but you don’t need any special equipment to shoot a 360 photo save for the phone that is probably already in your hand.

To start, just take a 360 photo using a special app, or even shoot a panorama using your phone’s camera app, and upload it to Facebook like a regular photo. Once it has finished uploading, the service will automatically convert it to an immersive experience.

Once it has finished uploading, the service will automatically convert it to an immersive experience.

It’s easy to figure out which photos are 360. As you’re scrolling, you’ll notice a 360-degree photo start moving around and responding to your phone’s movement. But there’s also a special compass icon in the upper right corner of the photo. On your phone, simply tap the photo and move around to experience the entire photo. On the desktop, you’ll have to click and drag the photo around.

There are already amazing 360 photos out there, including a photo of the International Space Station thanks to NASA, where you can look around the interior as if you were actually there.

If you happen to have a Facebook-sponsored Samsung Gear VR headset, you can view 360 photos in virtual reality to make the experience even more immersive. 360 photos are available today via the web and app versions, and over the next few days users will be able to upload their own 360 photos.

“You can also check them out in virtual reality for a fully immersive experience” Zuckerberg wrote. 360 compatible photos can be viewed in virtual reality on Samsung Gear VR- compatible phones. A button on the top left corner of the photo is labelled “View in VR.” Clicking on that button and inserting your phone into a Gear VR headset enables you to view your photo in virtual reality.

How Do I Take 360 Photos?

  • Open the Facebook app and share the photo as you would any other photo: tap the status tool from the top of your Timeline or News Feed, select Photo/Video, choose the photo you want to share, and tap Post.
  • Once your photo is posted, look around in your photo — or any other 360 photo in News Feed that’s marked with the compass icon — by moving your phone or dragging with your finger. Tap on the photo to view it in full screen.
  • On Samsung Gear VR-compatible phones, you’ll see a button in the top left corner of your photo that says “View in VR.” If you tap on that button and insert your phone into your Gear VR headset, you can see your 360 photo in virtual reality.

To learn more about 360 photos, visit Facebook 360 site or join Facebook 360 Community group to be a part of the daily 360 and VR conversation. You can also learn more in the Help Center.

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