Street View – yes, that’s the name of the app – is designed to encourage regular folks to contribute their own 360-degree content, while new galleries offer easier access to Street View’s vast collection of global imagery.
The newly named app essentially replaces slightly different versions of what mobile users may already have been using, but for users of those earlier apps, the changes will be noticeable.
User-generated photo spheres
For starters, you can now easily publish your own photo spheres from around the world, or, as Google says, “from around the block.” These spheres will be added to Google’s existing collection of Street View imagery, allowing you to make a real contribution to the Web giant’s effort to mapping the planet with 360-degree pictures.
The newly launched Street View app lets you create the photo spheres directly from your Android handset or iPhone, and also supports spherical cameras like the Ricoh Theta S and NCTech iris360.
This should certainly prove fun for users who want to be a part of one of Google’s most popular products, contributing their own imagery for the service – and yes, Street View imagery remains part of the separate Google Maps app, so your work will be seen there, too.
Of course, for the Mountain View company the feature is a cost effective way of expanding its image collection even further, from yet-to-be-photographed streets and trails to the interiors of cafes, bars and beyond. Let’s just hope the company has someone on hand to check the posted content, or it could end up in an unfortunate Map Maker-type mess.
Other features include a new Explore section offering smartphone and tablet users quick access to Street View’s vast database of imagery, including curated galleries so you can “explore world landmarks, discover natural wonders, and step inside locations such as museums, arenas, restaurants, and small businesses,” the Web giant says.
So if you’re looking for some inspiration for your next big trip, or simply want to see more of the world from the comfort of your own couch, be sure to check out the new Explore gallery featuring Google’s most popular Street View collections from Maps as well as the photo spheres contributed by the likes of you and me. It’s all there, from the interior of the world’s largest passenger plane to the top of the Eiffel Tower to the Great Barrier Reef. Enjoy.