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Make your own Google Street View virtual tours

Google wants your photo spheres of places its Street View team hasn't gotten to yet.

As it continues to map every corner of the globe, Google is reaching out to photographers to help capture and record the planet's most hard-to-reach places using Android's Photo Sphere feature. 

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?"

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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." 

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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. 

Users have the opportunity to report images that violate Google Street View's privacy policy. Subjects like the interior of private homes, identifiable faces and license plates are either removed or blurred to protect people's identities and property.


Total comments: 8

The GOOGLE march to world domination continues apace. Resistance is futile.


"Reaching out to" was abject to start with, now it's abject, unimaginative and nauseating. Take it out to the back of the barn, put a ball through its head and call the knackers.


To get as much pano's as possible everyone may upload pano's. Even the low resolution, stich error pano's most people take. It degrades the art of good pano's and the art of photgraphy in general. But this is already going on and can't be stopped.
But pano photographers can also upload good work and reach a lot of people and recognision of there work.
Business wise; Google is hereby bypassing there own Google business photographers (Streetview inside pano photographers ) who invested in equipment and time. With the possibility of making connections to Streetview business owners can almost make there own business photo.


So Google have give us a tool to help Google wallpaper Google maps with ourimages. Google wants to turn photographers into drones and undermine the act of photography. Taking spherical panoramas is a technical excercise that Google and others have automated and that is all. Photography is about seeing and making selective judgements not just to record but to condence the act of seeing into an expressive image that is much more engaging than having everything you can see from one place dumped on you. The wow factor of the uber pano is like that of a gimmick, it gets old very quickly and if you compare it with the limited carefully framed panos of those photographers who chose their time and light so well it just becomes an act of digital excess.

To paraphrase Truman Capote - ...that is not photography at all, its just clicking.

And doing it at the behest of Google - Working free is your choice but do you want to be a drone for a bunch of venal tax dodging bastards?

Edited 2 minutes after posting

how much do they pay??


How does this compare to Microsoft's Photosynth? Which one is easier to use for DSLR images and gives better output? Thanks.

1 upvote

Google = Winning.

Total comments: 8
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