Friends no longer have to feel like they are missing out on all the fun when looking at one another's photos. That's because Facebook announced a new feature that allows users to experience still images in a more immersive way.
Facebook previously announced in May that it would add 360-degree photo support to the News Feed, and now, that time has finally come. The social network began rolling out 360-degree photos on Thursday, and they allow users to share and view panorama images as if they were in the scene themselves.
The main difference between static, traditional photos and 360 photos is that the latter provides a wider view of the landscape so that the viewer can see what's going on in the entire image in all directions.
By shooting these types of images, the user's Facebook friends will be able be more immersed in their photographs and actually feel like they are right there with the photographer. Shutterbugs can use this feature to show off their insane mountain view during a hike, or the stage and crowded arena at a concert. Vacation photos are no longer boring.
To share a 360 photo on Facebook, the user starts by capturing the image, scene or landscape they desire using the panorama mode on their iOS or Samsung Galaxy smartphone. Users can also use an app specifically for snapping 360-degree photos, or opt to use their favorite 360 camera. The image is then uploaded to the social network like normal, and Facebook will then convert it to become the immersive image.
360 photos will feature a compass icon on the right-hand side of the image so that users can identify them and start to move around in the photo. Users can completely see the image from all directions on their smartphone by manually tapping and dragging the photo or by simply moving their device around. Facebook's 360 photos can also be viewed on the desktop version of the site by clicking on and dragging the image.
Those with a Samsung Gear VR headset can get an even more immersive experience — that is, if they have a recent model of the Galaxy devices. These users just have to click "View in VR" in the corner of the video and place their phone in the headset to experience the snapshot in virtual reality.
360 photos won't just be appearing from user's photo-obsessed friends. Facebook revealed that public figures, publishers and other organizations also have plans to take advantage of the new way to display content, such as NASA giving users a peek into the International Space Station.
Facebook previously launched 360 video last year, although to share those videos, users still need a camera more advanced than that on their smartphone. The company also recently unveiled a reference design for its 360 Surround camera for VR, which is further evidence that it believes 360-degree content is the way of the future.
For now, expect to see many wedding bouquet tosses and vacation landscapes shared on the platform.