I still remember when Google Street View was that pre-installed icon that I wished I could remove from my device but couldn't because it came as part of Google Maps. Now the exploration service is all grown up, living independently, and thanks to the spread of 360 cams and user-generated content as well as the addition of dozens of interesting photosphere collections from real to fictional, has reached 1 billion total installs on the Play Store.
While many of those downloads will have resulted from the app being pre-installed on devices for the longest time, 1 billion is still an impressive milestone to reach. Read More
There's a new update for Google Photos rolling out, but on the surface, it doesn't look like any notable changes have been made. However, we aren't just interested in the things that have gone live, but also improvements we can look forward to in the future. The latest version of Google Photos hints at printing capabilities for albums and a search suggestion for 360 photos. Some new information is also available for a previously teased interface that promised to be a faster way to share photos with friends. Of course, keep an eye out for anything we may not have seen. Read More
For many of us, the Street View name is linked to a convenient way to look around at places we haven't been, whether it's just an address we're about to drive to or one of the world's greatest mountains. We don't usually associate it with making money, but a lot of businesses have started investing in virtual tours to attract more customers. For a few years, Google has been working to help businesses pair up with independent photographers and agencies to capture scenery for potential visitors. The interface for this was entirely web based, but now it looks like some of the operations will soon become available through the Street View app itself. Read More
Google Street View hit 2.0 back in September, and everyone who captures, uploads, and manages photo spheres cheered in unison. Performing any of these actions became easier after the app separated from Google Maps, but there is always room for improvement. Today, Google released a new version that adds a few features that will make life a little easier for doing certain things.
• Import photo spheres from your device
• Expanded support for linked spherical cameras
• Bulk actions
Importing photo spheres has been on my wish list since the app was first launched. In the past, I have taken photo spheres using the Google Camera, which were stuck outside of Street View. Read More
Google surprised everybody back in 2014 with an unusual project called Cardboard, a low cost and simple viewer that could work with a smartphone to create simple virtual reality environments. Cardboard has quickly grown into a very engaging tool and it has been adopted in many classrooms as a result. The latest update to the demo app polishes up the experience as well as makes it a bit easier to find new apps to play with. Sadly, Windy Day is no longer included.
The first time you launch Cardboard after the update, you'll be greeted immediately by one of the big changes: a brand new welcome video. Read More
Google Street View launched as a true standalone app just last month, becoming something of a shared gallery for the world's most awesome locales. People can easily look through and contribute to a vast selection of great photographs and photospheres from around the globe. But if you were looking for the truly immersive experience, the app was still somewhat lacking. That is, until now. The latest update adds Google Cardboard support, so everybody can take a trip without leaving their home.
To switch modes, just tap on the new Cardboard icon in the top-right corner of the screen on any 360-degree photo. Read More
Google Maps is arguably the best way to get from point A to point B, but it is also one of the best ways to explore places around you. From restaurants, to movie theaters, to state parks, Google Maps has all the information you could ever need. How does Google have information for all of these places? Surely there can't be a couple people sitting in Mountain View documenting every mom and pop shop in the world. In fact, most of the information that appears in Google Maps is there because of contributors. There are Googlers who help verify information, but the contributors are the people who add addresses, hours, reviews, etc. Read More
Google has been posting versions of most of its first-party apps to the Play Store in an effort to update key features of Android (or at least Google's branded additions to the platform) without having to wait for carriers to push out software apps. According to a report from Engadget, the standard camera app will soon get an upgrade, presumably following the same path. At this point we'll consider this a rumor, since Engadget only cites "sources aware of Google's plans."
The report says that the updated camera app will include many of the bells and whistles that newer devices are getting, like the fake depth of field effect shown off on the HTC One M8. Read More
The Photospheres feature has been a photographic novelty thus far, but today Google Maps has added some notable functionality. The Views section of Google Maps already lets you place your own 360-degree panorama on specific points in the world, but now you can connect them via virtual paths, creating an instant, locale-specific Street View. Other users can then view it and move between multiple Photospheres for a more complete experience.
This is a great way for users to add Street View capabilities to locations where Google's shutterbug vehicles can't normally go, like hiking trails or inside buildings. (Not that this has stopped Google before.) Once multiple Photospheres are connected via virtual paths, or "constellations," users can "walk" between them in the same way that they already use Street View. Read More
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. Read More