Viewing Photospheres is now as much fun as taking them with the new compass mode
Photospheres are a real killer feature of the Android camera. Getting a full 360-degree panorama makes you feel like you’re in the scene, and the folks at Google have been hard at work making them better and better with each version. Google has shared a few tips for taking better photosphere pictures, but this is all about viewing them.
The latest version of Google Play Services brought more than the new Android Device Manager. Included in the update was also a new photosphere viewer called compass mode. When you’re looking at a photosphere on your Android, whether it be one of your own in your gallery, or one someone has shared on Google+ or via Gmail, you can tap the icon in the lower left corner of the image and activate it. You then move your Android to “navigate” the photosphere. Move you Android up to see higher, down to see lower, and left and right to pan. Of course the old way still works, just don’t tap the new icon. The icon itself disappears so it doesn’t clutter your view, but comes back with a tap on the screen.
The best news is that this doesn’t only apply for new Android devices. According to Sascha Haeberling, one of the Google engineers working on the photosphere project, devices running Froyo or higher can use the new viewer. We imagine that your Android will need a compass or gyroscope to activate it, but there are no software limitations here.
We’ve been tinkering with the improvements to photosphere, both taking them and viewing them, and have come away impressed. Hit the break for an example of how well they stitch with Android 4.3, and a link to try the new viewer on your phone.