Anyone for a 360-degree selfie?

16 September 2016
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Now that there are over 200 social media platforms, the race is on to attract new users by improving the inbuilt applications, especially photo apps as phone camera technology improves radically – the iPhone 7 Plus boasts some spectacular advances.

About a year ago, Google released the free Photo Sphere app (since renamed the Street View app), which allows users to easily take 360˚ Google Street View images using a smartphone to post on the public Google Maps archive. Until now, there’s been no social media application for this powerful tool.

When Facebook introduced 360˚ photo support in early June 2016, phone gazers took advantage of the new capability by posting their smart phone panoramas to beautiful quasi-VR wide-view images.

What they didn’t realise was that this new feature seamlessly accepts Street View images created by Google’s free app.

And while the Street View app can be connected to some 360˚ cameras, such cameras are unnecessary as the photo-stitching tool will utilises your phone’s camera and accelerometer to create such images easily.

Just spend two minutes aligning your phone’s camera with the app’s 360˚ markers, and you can make a panorama the size and scope of your pleasing. Imagine that from the bridge of one of your vessels on your web site?

The app takes about a minute to stitch the images together and once it does, it saves the image to your phone’s camera roll so you can post it onto Facebook. The Facebook app needs to be updated to its newest version to recognise the photo as a 360˚ offering.

The app’s strongest in wide open spaces where slight changes of your position in space won’t alter the 360˚ point of view. It’s an easy tool with a lot of potential to make immersive 360˚ content for Facebook.

Also attracting a lot of attention is the rising use of Instagram, considered the photo app of choice for younger people.

Launched in 2010, the app now has over 500 million monthly users with 28% of all online users based in the US. Interestingly, the platform seems to attract greater useage by females than males.

Of course it appeals to the group now known as the millennials with 55% of users in the 18 – 39 age bracket. Companies are now investing more time and resources into this channel with the focus on spectacular images and settings. Staggeringly, the app records 1000 comments per second.

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