Facebook starts supporting 360-degree photos

Expect more 360-degree photos popping up on Facebook.

The social network said Thursday that it will start turning panoramic images captured by its users into 360-degree photos, allowing people to pan around these wider shots on a smartphone or computer. People can also snap 360-degree photos using certain apps or cameras that support these images.

These 360-degree images have also been part of Facebook-owned Oculus’ efforts to bring virtual reality to more people through a smartphone. On the Samsung Gear VR headset, which is powered by Oculus, people can view the photo by clicking on a button on the top left corner that says “View in VR.”

“Now your friends can experience the moments you share in 360 as if they were actually there with you, from hiking through a national park, to wandering through a museum, to celebrating a wedding,” Andy Huang, a product manager for Facebook, wrote in a blog post.

The 360-degree photos can be viewed today on the web and the latest version of Facebook’s app on Apple and Android devices. Facebook is rolling out the ability to share 360-degree photos on the site over the next few days, Huang wrote.

The images have a compass icon on them and people can explore them by moving their smartphone or dragging their fingers. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday also posted an example of a 360-degree photo taken from the top of One World Trade Center in Manhattan by two TIME magazine photographers.

Photos aren’t the only 360-degree content on Facebook, which has been trying to make the social media site more immersive. In September, Facebook started rolling out 360-degree videos. The company also built an open-source 360-degree video camera, which it introduced at its annual developer conference in April.

About 1.6 billion people use Facebook.

Photo courtesy of Facebook


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