Last year, Google started letting people upload their own 360-degree photo spheres to Google Maps’ Street View — a collection of 360-degree images within Google Maps. In June, users were able to collect and share their photo spheres via Google's Views site. Now, users can create their own connected photo sphere tours in Views and share them in Street View. That's a whole lot of Google speak, but essentially, Google's expanding its efforts to add more and more crowdsourced imagery to its Google Maps database.
Unlike the practical applications of Google Maps for directions or live traffic reports, Google says it has a more poetic aim for Street View.
"We are trying to inspire people to go out and explore," said Evan Rapoport, Product Manager of Google Maps and Photo Sphere, in a telephone interview with Connect. "If a single photograph and a single photographer can be so powerful, what will happen when we give thousands photographers these incredible tools?"
View Larger Map
Google has been sending out Trekkers — hikers with special camera backpacks — to go places its cars, bikes and snowmobiles can't. After launching the Trek program, Google received a lot of requests for more mapping of users' favorite places around the world. It answered by inviting users to share more of their own images created using Photo Sphere.
"We don’t have tens of thousands of Trekkers," said Rapoport. "We’re really opening up the tools to everyone so they can still contribute."
Users can now connect their photo spheres into navigable "constellations" using Google's Views site. This is done easily with Android-created photo spheres which have location tags, though photo spheres can also be compiled from other digital images as long as you add photo sphere XMP metadata. When made public, these connected photo spheres become virtual tours inside Google Maps' Street View, also known as a "Street View experience."
"A typical cell phone is not going to be able to capture the top of the castle all the way down," said Rapoport, referencing his Street View contribution of an Irish castle tour. "With this, not only can you take a 360-degree photo sphere, but you can also take wide angle shots that can mimic an 18mm lens."
View Larger Map
Since Google made the tool public yesterday, people are already uploading their own connected photo spheres from around the world, including this one of Tiber Island in Rome, Italy. Rapoport expects more people to use the new feature to share images from hiking destinations, neighborhood parks and exotic destinations, though the Google Street View team is cautious about inappropriate use of the public uploading.
"Google Views, like Google+, has a community of photographers and there are some images that may be appropriate to share with your community, but shouldn't be public," Rapoport said.
|Nectar Dancing by Lensmate|
from A Big Year - birds
|Sad clown by PEB|
|Mtl Gen X 2015 DP by MarioSS|
from - Gen X - (In Full Colours+ Border)
In this article, expert macro photographer Thomas Shahan shares advice for successful closeup photography of bugs, insects and small animals.
DJI's new firmware makes it difficult to fly in restricted airspace, even when you have proper clearance. Is DJI placing themselves between professionals and the FAA?
Go behind the scenes with National Geographic photographer Renan Ozturk and see what it takes to capture a dangerous, harrowing, stunning Nat Geo photo essay.
Erez Marom tells the story behind this ominous photo of the sand 'reaching up' towards the mountains at Skagsanden beach in Norway. He calls this photo 'Torment.'
DPReview staffer Carey Rose has taken the Panasonic Leica DG 15mm F1.7 along for everything from a city-side boat ride to a bachelor party across the mountains. Find out how the little Leica fared.
Canon just unveiled the largest 12-ink printer on the market. The new imagePROGRAF PRO-6000 printer can make prints from 17 all the way up to 60 inches wide.
"Standing in one of the holiest places on earth, I felt uneasy," writes Wired's Jason Parham. "Most of my fellow visitors, I realized with a brief bloom of nausea, were taking selfies."
Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk has been receiving great reviews, but it's a challenge to see it in its full glory. This handy infographic reveals the aspect ratio chaos that is wrought as the industry retreats from film.
Anti-bullying organization Ditch the Label's Annual Bullying Survey 2017 reveals yet again that Instagram, more so than any other social network, has a the worst effect on youth mental health.
It's been a crazy day for innovative patent news. Apparently Sony is thinking of developing a medium format curved sensor camera.
An update to the Silkypix Raw converter fixes some bugs and adds support for several popular new cameras.
This crazy custom-built underwater camera shoots 8x10 large format film. It's supposedly "the first successful underwater 8x10 ever made," and it can be yours for $5,800... plus shipping.
Blackmagic just reveled a new accessory for their Cintel Film Scanner. The Cintel Audio and KeyKode Reader can capture KeyKode data and high-quality audio from film in real-time as it is being scanned.
A new Nikon patent shows a lens designed for a curved full-frame sensor. Could this be the high-end Nikon mirrorless camera people are hoping for?
The ability to shoot images at 1,000 fps first appeared in a Sony smartphone sensor. Now the Japanese manufacturer is using the same feature for industrial applications.
Astronomy expert and photographer Dr. Tyler Nordgren thinks you should "see your first eclipse, photograph your second." But if you do plan on taking photos this August, here are a few tips from someone who's been there.
How confident are you that you can spot a manipulated photo? A recent study at the University of Warwick shows that many people are pretty bad at it.
If you purchased a Leica TL2, do NOT attach Leica's Visoflex electronic viewfinder. Leica is working on a fix, but for now, it's possible the viewfinder will break your camera.
Google just released Motion Stills for Android. Unlike the iOS version, the Android app uses a redesigned video processing pipeline that processes each frame of a video as it is being recorded, creating instant results.
A huge copyright lawsuit between photography firm VHT and Zillow Group is heating up again, as both sides appeal a court ruling that granted VHT $4 million in damages.
European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet spent 6 months on board the International Space Station where he worked with Google capturing spheric panorama images that are now available in Street View.
It's official. PDN has confirmed with parent company Aurelius that 94-year-old lighting company Bowens is indeed going out of business.
The newly launched firmware version 1.06 fixes AF-issues that can occur with some lenses that are not officially compatible with the MC-11 converter.
Voyager is a waterproof smart light stick you can control entirely from your phone. The light has already blown past its $300K funding goal on Indiegogo.
2018 is the last year Photokina will take place during the traditional end-of-September dates. In 2019, Photokina will take place from the 8th to the 11th of May.
The Canon IXUS 50 (known as the SD400 Digital ELPH in North America) was one of a string of high-performing, pocketable PowerShots of the mid-2000s. In this week's throwback Thursday, Barney casts his mind back to 2005.
A close look at the EOS 6D II's Raw files suggest its dynamic range has taken a significant step backwards compared with the company's recent DSLRs. We look at how much difference this might make for your photos.
With a full-production review unit in our hands, we've got over 100 production samples from the new Canon EOS 6D Mark II to share.
Need a break from your day? Kick back and watch the making of a somewhat unconventional mojito filmed on Canon's new EOS 6D Mark II.
The Bonfoton Camera Obscura Room Lens can turn any room into a camera obscura, projecting the view from your window onto the walls of your room.