Skip to main content

Google’s Cardboard Camera app turns your smartphone into a virtual reality camera

google cardboard camera app news cardboard2
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Google was the first to bring you Photo Spheres, and now the Mountain View company is giving you the ability to capture virtual reality (VR) photos with your smartphone. With the Cardboard Camera app, you will be able to capture VR photos that will let you revisit that awesome vacation or that mountain you climbed.

The app works with any Android phone and compatible Cardboard viewer. The good news is that you don’t need the viewer for capturing the photo, only for viewing them. Just launch the Cardboard Camera app and move your phone around in a circle while holding it in portrait mode. You can even capture sound if you wish. Don’t worry, the app will tell you if you’re moving too fast.

When finished, you will get a notification that it’s being processed along with a progress bar. It won’t take more than a few seconds to complete.

The end result will be a VR photo that you can see when your phone is in the Cardboard viewer. You will be able to look around from any direction. It’s actually a lot like a Photo Sphere, but the top and bottom of the scene isn’t captured. Google is calling it a three-dimensional panorama, so things that are near look near, and things that are far look far. The addition of sound can make whatever you’re capturing even more memorable.

Google launched the app in Google Play today, so you can grab it by clicking here. Although Cardboard is compatible with the iPhone, the app wasn’t launched in the App Store, and Google didn’t mention if it’s in the plans.

Don’t have Cardboard yet? No problem, just click here for Google’s site that lists various versions of it that you can purchase. You can get a pretty decent one for as little as $15, but there are few out there costing as much as $120. If you’re a Verizon Wireless customer, you can stop by your local store and see if they have any Star Wars Cardboard viewers leftover from yesterday’s giveaway.

Editors' Recommendations

Robert Nazarian
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Robert Nazarian became a technology enthusiast when his parents bought him a Radio Shack TRS-80 Color. Now his biggest…
App subscription fatigue is quickly ruining my smartphone
App Store displayed on an iPhone 14 Pro against a pink background

When I first got an iPhone in 2008, I remember checking out web apps, which were basically websites that I would keep bookmarked on the home screen. Every time I opened them up, they somehow didn’t look like I just launched mobile Safari. Eventually, Apple launched the App Store in July 2008, mostly eliminating the need for antiquated web apps.

Since the App Store opened up, we've gotten to see innovative new apps and games that took our iPhones to a completely new level — showing us what our devices were capable of. I was excited to see and hear about new apps for a variety of things, from task managers to camera replacement apps to photo editors to journals and so much more. Games were also making use of the iPhone’s accelerometer and gyroscope sensors, so it wasn’t just always about touchscreen controls.

Read more
Google wants you to know Android apps aren’t just for phones anymore
Person holding Samsung Galaxy smartphone showing Google Play Store.

When most people think of the Google Play Store, the first thing that comes to mind is smartphones. However, the spread of the Android ecosystem is far broader than that, and Google is taking steps to increase awareness of this and make it easier for folks to find apps on the Play Store for their smart TVs, watches, and even cars.

In a blog post today, the Google Play team announced three significant changes that should make it easier for Android fans to discover apps for all their devices, right from their phone. This includes recommendations of apps for non-phone devices, a search filter to focus on only games optimized for non-phone devices, and even a remote install feature that will let you deliver those apps to your Android TV, Wear OS watch, or Android Automotive-equipped car.

Read more
Google Drive, Docs, and other apps are getting way better on Android tablets
new workspace updates for android tablets.

Google is bringing the desktop experience for its core Workspace apps to Android tablets, adding some much-needed productivity flair. The changes, which come in the wake of announcements made at I/O earlier this year, are targeted at improving the split-screen multitasking experience after laying down the foundations with Android 12L.

The first and most important change is the ability to drag and drop images from an app running in one window to another app running side by side in a second window. Google says the Chrome browser and Workspace apps like Sheets will support the drag-and-drop trick for Docs and spreadsheet cells, among other services.

Read more