In my opinion, Photospheres are one of the coolest camera features of Android. I don't use them that often (not often enough, anyway), but I always take some new ones when I go visit my grandparents in Virginia, because the country up there is just too beautiful to ignore. These Photospheres give me something to look at when I'm feeling "homesick" for the place where I grew up.


As time has gone on, the team behind Photospheres has made subtle improvements with each Android version bump, and KitKat is no different. This go they've improved image stitching to find the "ideal place to stitch the individual images together to avoid moving objects, people, or otherwise difficult spots" through a technique called optimal seam finding. This is something that Photospheres has needed for a while, because it's so easy to mess the stitching up because someone walks right through the middle of your shot or you move slightly. Hopefully this will fix that. There have also been changes made to improve Photospheres in "challenging" situations, like indoors.

Photospheres should also render faster in KitKat, as it now uses multi-threading to create the final product.

So, better pictures and less waiting. Sounds good to me.

+Evan Rapoport

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • anzensepp1987

    Suggestion for the next poll: "Have you ever used Photosphere?“

    • hyperbolic

      You're kidding right ?

    • djakdekiel

      I did

      • Senoy

        So did I

      • Paul_Werner

        I wanted to upvote this but with that face I thought it would be best to keep it at 69 upvotes... lol

    • jast

      I did. And it's awesome. e.g. for the CMS detector

      • andy_o


    • Stoik

      On every cool an fine Locations..

    • Merri Mogridge

      I use it all the time! I've taken three in the last few days. I usually upload them to g+, maps or just show them to my friends (who are amazed by it).

    • Shamu

      If I go somewhere scenic...I will take at least 1 photosphere

    • Claian

      The best I've taken was at Disneyland Paris main st at night. Was nearly perfect, even the people moving around didn't distort the seams, and then I went and got my thumb in the top corner of the last shot.

    • wtf

      Have you ever left your house and seen the world?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      I think a better poll would be Do you care for Photospheres? Because I've definitely taken a few but I really don't care for them at all.

      • http://www.toysdiva.com Toys Samurai

        How can we care? As far as I know, only the Nexus devices support it. I don't even think the Moto X has it.

        • Nicklas

          Would be weird if the Moto X didn't have it. Isn't it bundled in AOSP? Moto X is pretty close to stock if i remember correctly.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/doomstang Doomstang

    Awesome. I just created a photosphere today on my One. I'm using the camera/gallery .apk taken from one of the google edition One's and I was telling someone how I wish it stitched better and rendered quicker.

    • Irvin Vazquez

      I think that with the one you have to disable the wide view camera option as it distorts the image and makes it harder to stitch

  • Toblerone

    How about geo-tagging without English as system language? :-)

  • andy_o

    They're great but they should work on a way to share them easily from the phone, and to people without G+. Right now I have to go to the desktop version of G+ and directly copy the address in order to share mine. Also, it can't just be uploaded to an album, it has to be "shared" which means doing a post on G+, but more importantly, you don't get to choose which album it's going into.

    • Biyobe

      I do the auto upload with G+ and it gives me the option to move them or copy them to albums. I have one album just setup dedicated to Photospheres. You can copy them to any albums you want or move them completely.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

    Is it improved in the apk for the camera app that I sideloaded?

    • David Hart

      I'm not saying it isn't, but I noticed no difference on my Nexus 4.

  • Pratik Holla

    Can't seem to get this to work on my S3. Starting photosphere mode crashes the app. Anyonelse with this or know a solution?

  • http://dabuxian.com/ Dabu

    Is there anything KitKat didn't improve? ;P

    • TheLastAngel

      My thoughts exactly!

      And Google, what the hell was the point of 4.3? Please don't ever again release a 'major' version, just to have something to announce along with new hardware. 4.2.3 would have done nicely, thank you very much.

      • Adrian Meredith

        4.3 is a minor version, its features were almost certainly back ports from kitkat. Google clearly want a new version of android with each new hardware release. I wont complain!

      • Nomaan

        OpenGL es 3.0 was a nice improvement in 4.3 Maybe they wanted to do that before iOS 7.

      • NF

        By giving developers early access to some of these features, telop products four months sooner.

        That's four months to develop software and hardware using the importuned Bluetooth stack. Plus the notification features likely went to the Android watch team to develop using stable software.

        And there were some features meant for the new tablet.

    • JonJJon

      Ermm ermmmmm.....the back button pixel? Ahhh I don't know!

      • http://www.LOVEanon.org/ Michael Oghia (Ogie)

        Why can't they just fix it already!?!?! The OCD in me is crazy

        • Nicklas

          Seriously? It's still there?

          • silaslenz

            No, it seems to be fixed, at least in the port for the nexus 4 I'm running.

          • JonJJon

            It will be a small thing I look for when the official updates push to the Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 2012.

    • CoreDuo08
      • Tills13

        Security still has bugs, but it was improved with SELinux.

    • Luis Augusto Fretes Cuevas

      The camera app is still insultingly shitty.

      • TheLastAngel

        The refresh rate and resolution of the view finder window is abysmal. I hate it.

        • Joris Griffioen

          Not to mention the retarded UI.

    • silaslenz

      The delete button in the calculator is still not aligned

      • http://www.LOVEanon.org/ Michael Oghia (Ogie)

        I really think the Google team is trolling us via-a-vis calculator and back button...

  • Chris Caldwell

    so the 'yeah but your iphone doesnt actually use its 64 bit' vs 'yeah but your nexus doesnt actually use its quad cores' argument changes....

  • Chris Caldwell

    You know, if your gonna write an article like this dont you think it would be more compelling if you just grabbed an N5 and took a couple photospheres with it? Even better, take some with an N4 running 4.3 and compare.... research and testing folks, common now.

    • ins0mn1a

      i have seen nothing that suggests AP actually has a N5 in their hands just yet. i could have missed it though, so many posts lately.

      • UCLAKoolman

        Yeah I don't think they have one yet. We all will next week though!!!

        Edit: Wish AP would see some Nexus 5 preview love instead of the Verge tbh

        • Gabernasher

          I really don't get why they love to give the Apple lovers these exclusives.

          • NF

            If a more balanced or pro-competitor site likes the new device, that speaks more.

            If AP likes the Nexus 5, it's like, yeah of course they like it. It's preaching to the choir.

          • Al McDowall

            Totally see your point and it's quite possible. But they (Google) should be aware that some people wait for reviews before plonking down money on a new phone (that they've been waiting for while the 'leaks' make time stretch into infinity) and AP is a trusted source of honest reviews.

          • Gabernasher

            At least they'd give it a real review.

    • Captain Canada

      I believe you meant to say "come on now", douchebag troll.

      • Chris Caldwell

        wow, nice, thanks for that relevant insult, Captain Grammar. And why would AP NOT have an N5 yet? they would have to be the last significant tech blog to get one if not, how embarrassing.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      None of us were sent or given an N5 like some other sites, and we're still waiting for ours, as others here said.

    • Gabernasher

      What's common now? Idiots trolling comments, yea, that's common.

    • Arun Sagar

      Guys, I'm sorry to report that there seem to be many issues with the "upgrade". Besides exposure issues and actually deteriorating the stitching, there are loads of other issues. Here's how it stacks up against N4: https://plus.google.com/104632900449833658522/posts/G3gutuNvqnR

  • cesar suarez

    plis apk for camera! :(

  • cesar suarez
    • someone755

      Thank you. I was actually looking here prior to Googling. And, it paid off!

  • Stacey Liu

    Did they do anything to improve panorama? Right now, it's terrible. The pictures come out blurry, poorly stitched, and simply not worth looking at.

    • someone755

      That's why I rather Photosphere a panorama than Panorama it. :I

      • Stacey Liu

        The problem with Photospheres is that you can only share them in a viewable form over Google+. I only know a handful of people who use Google+, so sharing things with it is rather pointless. Anyone can view a panorama with Facebook or iMessage or MMS. They can't do the same with a Photo Sphere.

  • someone755

    Are they faster on every phone or just the top-of-the-line Snapdragon 800 N5?

    • blah

      Multi-threading will make it quicker on every phone with >1 core.

      • someone755

        IT HAZ MT?
        Wow, I guess I really should read these articles, not end with the title. :I

  • http://www.juegos2.info/ Juegos 2

    I also think like you. photospheres as image editing application on Android best today. with just a few simple steps you can have beautiful pictures adobe photoshop


    Is Photosphere on my Moto X now that it's KITKAT'd? Google took Photosphere out of the rom and placed it into the camera app (i think) so if you are not using the Nexus camera app you are out of luck. Am I wrong about this????????

  • Moaaz Ahmad

    Don't know if it's a bug or a fault from my side, but photosphere seems to have a bug with the gyroscope. To repeat, turn off auto-rotate from Display settings, open the camera app while keeping your phone portrait. Select photosphere option, and exit the app. Now turn your phone landscape, and open the camera app. I've just flashed 4.4 on my Nexus 4 today, and have switched to ART.

  • Eggsnsam

    Is photosphere available on Moto X or is there a way to add it?