Facebook users can now post 360-degree photos to their newsfeeds, the company said today. Users simply upload a 360-degree image — as they would any other photo — and Facebook will convert it into a sort of interactive environment, writes product manager Andy Huang in a company blog post.
360-degree photos can be captured using the panorama setting on any smartphone camera, or with 360-degree photo apps and 360-degree cameras. On newsfeeds, these photos will appear with a compass icon in the right hand corner in order to be easily identifiable, according to Huang. “We’re improving photos on Facebook so that people can share more immersive views of their world,” he added.
On desktops, users can drag around with their mouses to glimpse different perspectives — just as they would on a 360-degree video. On mobile devices, the scene shifts as viewers drag their fingers across the photograph or move their phones through the air. 360-degree photos can also be viewed in virtual reality with the Samsung Gear VR, Facebook says, by clicking a ‘View in VR’ button at the top of the photo.
Paul McCartney, The New York Times, and NASA all posted 360-degree photos today in order to tout the new feature, showcasing tour stops, the Supreme Courtroom, and a module within the International Space Station, respectively. Mark Zuckerberg even shared a shot from atop One World Trade Center in New York City.
360-degree video — and Live video — have been crucial undertakings for Facebook of late. In February, the company announced the formation of a social VR team, which is dedicated to determining the ways in which future users might wish to connect using VR. The company also released a list of the most popular 360-degree videos of the year thus far, in which natural wonders, soccer, and Game Of Thrones emerged as popular tropes.