Facebook Will Launch 360-Degree Photos To News Feeds Soon

Facebook Will Launch 360-Degree Photos To News Feeds Soon

Facebook declares it will allow user upload and view 360-degree photos on mobile and the web in the coming weeks. The feature will function similarly to 360-degree videos, so a user will be able to click and drag to search an environment on the desktop or move their smartphone around as if its screen were a viewfinder. 

The feature is part of a greater mission to frame Facebook as a way to explore faraway places. It's also tied directly to Facebook-owned Oculus VR's push for more live-action photography and video we can experience with the Rift headsets and Gear VR . Both devices will also be able to view 360-degree photos shared on the social network.

Facebook’s 360-degree video has been a hit, but there is more to come. In coming weeks, introduced last year, Facebook will allow its users post fully-immersive photos right to the News Feed, officials from the virtual reality tech company Oculus declared Tuesday.

"Our goal is to get this camera into the hands of as many creators as possible," Eugene Wei, the head of a video at Oculus, told reporters.

The feature is certainly going to hook up even more people to the world of 360. Taking pictures is not simply easier, but also cheaper since no special 360-degree rigs will be required to capture the lively images.

“You’ll be able to take a panoramic photo from your phone or use a 360 camera, upload it to Facebook, and pan around by tilting your phone or dragging the image,” Oculus said.

The news is moving to Facebook users who aren't able to utilize the 360-degree video option since it isn't really the easiest thing in the world. You need a 360-degree camera to shoot that kind of video, so it is mainly big companies like ABC and sports teams dominating that ground. The average Joe can post a 360-degree photo, however, using the previously stated panorama technique. And while the user can view the images through Gear VR, their smartphone will do.

Unlike 360-degree videos, almost anyone with a smartphone will be able to create these new photos. Panoramas, photos shot and photo spheres with 360-degree camera units will all be maintained by Facebook when the update drops.

On the other hand, if the user wants to take professional 360-degree photos, user are going to need a full 360 camera rig. User can also pick up a GoPro Odyssey if user have a spare $15,000 lying around, or the Ricoh Theta S if user don’t.
Along with being a neat addition to the platform, 360-degree photos are also another push for users to start adopting VR head-mounted displays (HMDs). Facebook now possesses Oculus, which is responsible for both the Oculus Rift and the software that runs Samsung’s Gear VR headset as well.

“We’ve been beta-testing 360 photos internally for awhile now,” writes Eugene Wei, head of a video for Oculus. “It’s a lot of fun. You get to share where you are; the story of your life with other people.”

The Oculus-powered Gear VR has simply been out for around six months but Facebook says it has already exceeded many of their initial expectations. However we don't know how many headsets Samsung has shipped since its launch, Facebook declares more than a million people used the Gear VR last month alone. 

Speaking of the Gear VR, Facebook also thinks to make some changes to the Oculus mobile app. The app will soon be informed with a new "what's new" section, meant to highlight the latest games and videos. Later, in June, the company plans to revamp the design of Oculus' home screen on Gear VR to make it easier to find recently downloaded items. 

Facebook needs to urge people to yield as many videos and photos as possible, so much so that it made a camera of its own. During its annual F8 developer’s conference, Facebook declared a reference design for a new 17-camera array called Facebook Surround 360. The company hopes third-party manufacturers will produce their own 360-degree cameras using the blueprints. Because at the end of the day, the more videos and photos that make their way to Facebook, the more time people will spend busy within the social network. 
Facebook said that more than a million people used the Gear VR last month alone and there are more than 250 apps for the headset. The social network says  80% of Gear users watching videos.

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