Google revamps Street View, welcomes user 360° images

The company is teaming with three camera makers to get the photos

Google is revamping its Street View service with an eye to attracting many more contributed 360° images.

On Thursday, the company introduced an update to its iOS and Android mobile apps that supports uploads from three cameras: Ricoh's Theta S, the NCTech iris360 and the Giroptic 360cam. The cameras capture an image in all directions, similar to those from Google's Street View car.

On the iPhone, the Photo Sphere Camera app has been updated and renamed Street View. It previously allowed users to create and share all-around images by stitching together multiple pictures taken with a smartphone camera. With its relaunch, it supports the 360° images and adds Street View imagery from Google.

On Android, the existing Street View for Google Maps app is being replaced by a new version over the next two weeks. It previously provided nothing but Street View images, but the update adds user-generated images.

Together, the two new apps will allow users to contribute their own images to add new perspectives or fill in spots missed by Google's service. And it will allow all users to see the new images as they navigate on maps.

"I believe we are really right on the verge of a great swell of consumer adoption of spherical imaging," said Charles Armstrong, a Google Maps product manager, introducing the changes at the IFA consumer electronics show here in Berlin.

150903 google maps 1 Martyn Williams
Charles Armstrong, a Google Maps product manager, uses the Street View app during a demonstration at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin on September 3, 2015.

Google has faced some criticism from privacy advocates over the Street View service and now routinely blurs out people's faces and car license plates from the images it captures.

By accepting user-generated images, that privacy policy is being widened.

"We’re giving users the ability to comment on license plates and faces, even if they were contributed by other users -- something we have not historically supported," said Armstrong.

Unlike the Street View process, which is handled automatically, the user-generated images will only be altered if Google receives a request and then it will be done by hand, said a company representative in Berlin.

The announcement was made as Ricoh unveiled the Theta S, the third in its Theta line of cameras that can capture images in 360°. The Theta S will go on sale later this year.

150903 google maps 3 Martyn Williams
Ricoh's Theta S camera on display at a Berlin news conference on September 3, 2015.

Ricoh said the link with Google was made possible by the American company's open spherical camera API.

The spherical images have a resolution of 5,376 pixels by 2,688 pixels.

"The content quality here is great, we’re very excited about the resolution," said Armstrong.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags IFA

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?