A few months ago Google added a feature that gave users the opportunity to share their Photo Spheres photo panoramas online, through the Google Views website.

Spheres, captured using Android phones or digital SLR cameras, could be uploaded by users from all over the world, letting them share a Google Street View-like view of a particular point of interest. Unlike Street View, though, Photo Spheres only let users pan and zoom inside a virtual photo sphere. But now Google has changed that, giving Views a bit more range.

In a post on the Google LatLong blog, an engineer details how Views can now be used to let photo spheres be linked together to deliver a Street View experience. This means you can capture a number of spheres using your Android phone or camera, and then assemble them all using the tools on Views. This means you can capture your walk through a park, garden, or square, and assemble it to give online users a glimpse of what it was like – using the Street View interface. It’ll also be a great way for businesses and museums to give users tours of their premises.

Locally, a number of users have already contributed Photo Spheres to the Google Views website, but hopefully that collection can grow – and expand the scope of those with limited views. For example, this View of the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens could now be expanded to have a walk through the gardens, from its entrance all the way along the walking paths and picnic gardens. This view of the Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton could also be captured to have close-ups of the statue, as well as letting browsers walk away from it to get a better perspective of the view in the square. These famous wine farms in the Western Cape could also have detailed views of their facilities and vineyards, rather than the current static, 360-degree views.

Thankfully, the tech that makes this possible isn’t more complicated to use. It just requires creators to capture multiple spheres along the route of their walk – which is essentially what Google Street View cars do – and they can later link the various spheres together, which lets Google’s tech do the mathematics and sort out the views.


Eleven years ago Christo started writing about technology for one of South Africa's (then) leading computer magazines. His first review? A Samsung LCD monitor. Hey, it was hot news, back then. Nowadays he gets more excited about photography, cars, game consoles, and faster internet connections. He's sort of an Apple fan, but will take any opportunity to remind you about his Windows-powered home theatre PC and desire to own a vanilla Android tablet.   Currently uses: Apple 13-inch Macbook Pro with Retina Display, Apple iPhone 5, Microsoft Laser Mouse 6000, Audiofly AF78 Earphones, Xbox 360, Nikon D50.