If you use the digital camera built in to your smartphone to record the moment, you have two main options to do so. You can shot single photos of a scene or record a video. What I liked so much about Microsoft Photosynth which is a program that creates a larger panoramic image from a number of photos taken from the same object. You basically take a lot of photos, preferably all in the right angle, and use the software afterwards to stitch them together to create this larger photo.
Google is brining Photosynth to Android 4.2. The company calls it Photo Sphere, but it is basically the same thing. The app displays a three dimensional room to you when you start it. You fill that room by taking photos from the scene while the application is displaying the resulting image right on the screen. The gray areas in the room indicate areas that you still need to take a photo of to complete the panorama.
You start with a single photo and go from there.
You add photos to the image, which may not look aligned and all at first, but that's only before the processing.
The panorama gets rendered in the end once you are finished taking the photos. The different photo angles get aligned properly in the process so that it is less likely that you can spot transitions between two photos on the panorama.
It is probably best to take a look at the app in a video as it is better suited for a demonstration. Below is Google's official demo video of the Photo Sphere feature.
Photo Spheres that you create with your phone are stored as jpeg files, with the information required to view them stored as XML data in the image itself. Images can be published on Google+ or Google Maps, and probably also other locations. This remains to be seen once Android 4.2 rolls out though.
It is interesting to note that Photo Sphere is not the first app for mobile devices of its kind. 360 Panorama for instance is available for Apple devices and on the Android store, Microsoft Photosynth for iOS and Windows Phone. Those are solid options if your phone does not get the upgrade to Android 4.2 any time soon - or at all.
I do like the new feature and think that it can be a great addition for Android users who like to take more than snapshots with their phones. The option to publish the results on Google Maps can be interesting for businesses, travel agencies, hotels and individuals as well.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.