03 February, 2014

How to watch Google Photospheres

I'm fairly certain you all know what panorama photos are. If you don't it's those veeery wide photos, that you can take with most of today smartphones and with some digital cameras, that allow you to move from side to side in order to capture wide views of (usually) nature. If you don't have a device that supports this, then you can also use some software tools to make panoramas from multiple overlapping horizontal shots. End results are something like this:
Panorama of Lago Maggiore, north of Italy

Panoramas are swell and perfect. But the only cover some of the story. Google came up with a way to also add all the missing parts, by allowing you to create a sphere photo. Basic idea is the same. You move your camera around and the software stitches it together. Only trick is that you move your camera all the way around. And up. And down.

So now you have a photo that puts you on the spot somewhere and you can rotate to your hearts content. The only problem is that it's a bit difficult to actually view that photo, if you're not an owner of an Android phone.
Sure, someone can send you their Photosphere, as they're called, and you open it on your PC. But you only see this:

The picture is nice, but it's a bit out of shape in lots of places. And it does nothing for your desire to be "on the spot".

Luckily there is a web page called http://photosphereviewer.net/. Smart people there allow you to point your web browser to location on your disk, where you have photospheres that your friends shared with you. And then you can watch them in all their intended glory. And in case you don't have one handy, they have several examples on their page. That's also where the above pic is from.

Have fun,