Following up on its announcement last month, Facebook has begun rolling out 360-degree photos that anyone can upload just like a regular image.
Facebook says you simply need to capture a panorama on your phone – or capture a photo with a proper 360-degree app or camera (like the Ricoh Theta S) – and then upload it like you would any other image.
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The images will show an animated ‘360’ icon on feeds to let your friends know they can play around with them.
It’s not clear how Facebook will handle incomplete panoramas though. I’ve rarely taken a panorama that goes all the way around, so I’m not sure whether Facebook will try to interpret such images as a wraparound image, or just allow for the partial view.
The company says you’ll be able to watch 360 photos with VR headsets as well. If you have a Samsung device and a Gear VR headset, you can tap a ‘View in VR’ button on the top-left corner, for instance.
Unfortunately there’s no support for Google Cardboard yet, which is a much more accessible headset, but we hope that’s just a matter of time.
Facebook first added 360-degree video in September, and the stills version works similarly. You can click-and-drag with your mouse or move your phone around to look over a scene.
The advantage for photos is that pretty much anyone can capture them, as most people have either an Android or iOS smartphone. The accessibility of 360-degree photos on Facebook might just do more to promote VR and immersive experiences than anything else so far.