Upgrade your Street View: Google picks the best cameras for 360-degree snaps

Google has released a certification for 360-degree cameras that will be able to create content for its Street View platform. There are currently 20 cameras that are due for release in 2017 that will meet the new standard.

What this will mean is that you will now be able to create visual ‘experiences’ that you can share to the Google platform. According to the press release, it will be as simple as connecting a certified camera to a phone with the Street View app, and Google does all “the heavy lifting of connecting each frame of your video into a traditional, interactive Street View experience”.

In the press release, Street View’s Product Manager Charles Armstrong talks about being “eager to invite my family who lives on the other side of the globe to wander through my local farmers market” but finding the still photos he took fell short of the real experience. With the new Street View app, he could create a 360-degree experience for them.

Ready to roll

At present, the vast majority of content on the platform is created by Google, with its Street View cars and backpack rigs. While the ability to more easily share your own images on the platform will certainly make Street View more useful (and probably more fun) we do wonder whether this is a shrewd way of Google getting its users to do its work for it.

There are four different classifications: mobile ready, auto ready, VR ready and workflow ready. Mobile ready is probably going to be the most useful to the average user, allowing people to shoot and upload content directly from their phone. Auto ready is for capturing footage from vehicles, and if the press release is anything to go by, vehicle has pretty loose parameters, possibly including bikes and horses.  

VR ready and workflow are the two more professional certifications, for cameras with geometric sensors for rendering a VR experience and for publishing tools respectively. 

For the range of supported cameras and software, as well as which category they fit into, check out this image from Google:

Andrew London

Andrew London is a writer at Velocity Partners. Prior to Velocity Partners, he was a staff writer at Future plc.