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

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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.

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