Facebook will let you upload 360-degree photos, which is very cool

Like 360-video, 360-degree photos are going to be a big deal, and they're going to be everywhere. Here's what letting you upload 360-degree photos will do.

Juan Garzón/CNET

In the next few weeks, you'll be able to take a panorama photo on your phone and upload it to Facebook the usual way. Only it might not look like a short, stretched-out panorama shot the way it usually would. Instead, your friends will be able to see your surroundings in a sphere, using their finger to pan around, or moving their phone ("tilting" it) to navigate the scene.

You don't need any special equipment to upload or shoot 360-degree photos, just a phone.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If they have a Samsung Gear VR headset, which is powered by Oculus (owned by Facebook -- are you starting to see the connection here?), they can also press a button on the Facebook app that says "watch" and pop on the Gear VR to view your 360-degree photos.

The point here is that up until now, Facebook hasn't had the ability to let ordinary people upload this type of photo, even though it does host 360-degree photos and 360-degree videos.

As with 360-degree video, viewing a 360-degree photo draws you in to a more intimate view of the world, and Facebook and Oculus are both betting big on the 360 format becoming the de facto way that people start sharing and experiencing their memories.

"We think it can change people's lives," said Max Cohen, Oculus' head of mobile.

If Facebook and Oculus can get the most users and developers using their service, versus Twitter (which accepts photo uploads through 360-degree cameras like the Ricoh Theta), Google, Apple or anyone else, they'll have the monetary and business advantage over rivals. (Google does let you upload 360-degree photo to Google Street View, by the way, but that's a far cry from your pics of that volcano hike.)

Facebook says it will turn on support for uploading 360-degree photo "in the next few weeks".


This article also appears in Spanish. Read: ¡Qué bien! Facebook te dejará subir fotos en 360 grados

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