Mike Podwal, Google’s Product Manager, is proud to announce today that all Android smartphone owners can now create their own virtual-reality pictures. A dream come true, that’s what this feels like for Podwal, who has been dreaming for years of making all users creators of VR content.
- Google launched today an app that allows Android smartphone users to create 360-degree photos
- Taking a picture with Cardboard Camera app is much like shooting any other panoramic view
- Users need the very cheap Google Cardboard to view the resulted image
All you need is to have installed the Google Cardboard Camera app which allows you to snap your own virtual reality photos, which can then be viewed with the help of Google Cardboard. And using this app is not rocket science either, especially if you’ve taken a panoramic shot before.
Just hold your smartphone in a vertical position, tap on the camera button, and move slowly in a circle. There’s one bit of a difference, however, because unlike taking a regular panoramic picture, you need to complete a full 360-degree turn. As a bonus, the app also records a snippet of sound as you capture the photo.
It’s easy to be impressed by the resulting three-dimensional panorama: a full-blown picture in which near things appear near, far things appear far. You can check to your sides and crane your neck all the way behind you to see the whole captured scene, with the notable disappointment that the top and bottom of the image are still empty.
Even though this is a stillframe moment in time with static elements – unlike VR video – the experience is still highly immersive, much more so than looking at a Snapchat. Users can still feel transported to the scene they’re viewing in spite of the unmoving setting.
Google has offered demos at its offices, allowing interested customers to sample a bit of what the Cardboard Camera can do; feeling as if you’re standing on a beach, sharing a family’s campfire, or enjoying the breathtaking view atop Mount Kilimanjaro.
This move into “democratized” virtual reality, as Google puts it, is easy to be perceived as one of the biggest efforts the company has made to own monopoly on cheap and accessible virtual reality.
Google’s Cardboard Camera app was born out of a natural question the team at Jump – the company’s VR video platform – had for years: “How do we let absolutely anyone create experiences for VR?” After a year in development, the Cardboard Camera is very good at one thing: taking 360-degree photos.
Image Source: Tweakimg