Google Maps just got a huge new source of 360 degree photos
Google's new Nexus line of phones and tablets runs the also new Android 4.2, which is still labeled as Jelly Bean. This would indicate that it's a minor update, but it does come with a few interesting new features.Top among them is the Photo Sphere, which aims to make it possible for everyone to create 360 degree Street View photos using nothing but their phone.
The best part about these photos is that, just like Street View ones, you can put them online and view them in Google Maps.
"Now, with Photo Sphere, the new camera mode that’s part of the latest version of Android 4.2, Jelly Bean, you can photograph an entire scene—up, down, and all around—to create a 360º immersive experience," Google explained.
"You can easily choose to share your Photo Spheres to Google Maps so the entire world can enjoy the beauty of your favorite places," it added.
"Your images will help make Google Maps more comprehensive, and enable other travelers to get an accurate preview of a location before they arrive," it said.
Google Maps already has a big helping of user-created photos. Geo-photo fans have uploaded a huge number of photos via Panoramio, but Google also sources public and geo-tagged photos from Flickr, Picasa and other places.
All of these are plain old photographs. Google Maps did have some 360 degree imagery, courtesy of 360 Cities. But their number is about to be dwarfed by the amount of photos bound to land in Google Maps from enthusiastic Android users.
Granted, the feature is only available to very few people now, those that are running Android 4.2. Once the Nexus 4 and the Nexus 10 start shipping, on November 13, it's going to be a while before a lot of people are running the latest Android.