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Google sets photo spheres free with new Street View app and Google Maps support

Photography enthusiasts have been sharing 360-degree, panoramic photo spheres with the world via a Google community called Views since July of 2013. Although photo spheres always seemed like a natural fit for Google Maps and Street View, Google initially chose to limit sharing to only the Views community. All that is going to change in August when a new Street View app arrives.

The Google Maps team finally announced in a Google+ post that users will now be able to share their photo sphere creations with Maps, and see those shared by Google and other contributors right in the new Street View app.

The Street View app will replace the Photo Sphere Camera app on iOS, and it will offer a camera mode for both iOS and Android users. For those of you who happen to have a spherical camera, the new app will also link to the NCTech iris360 and the Giroptic 360cam. Google says more cameras will be supported in the future.

The Views community will go offline in mid-August, but all the photos that reside there will be transferred to Google Maps, and they’ll still be hosted by Google+. Users can upload all future photo spheres via the Google Maps website or the new Street View app.

Photo spheres are something that a lot of people have forgotten about, and Google hopes this change will deliver a resurgence to the once popular feature.

Google also went ahead and announced changes to the Google Maps Business View. In mid-August, it will be re-branded to Street View | Trusted. The company will continue to work with pro photographers who contribute photo spheres to Google Maps, but the requirements will ease a bit. Google promises that enrollment will be easier and publishing requirements will be simpler, but it will continue to require high quality images.