A huge feature currently missing from the Google Cardboard Camera is the ability to share the photos that you’ve taken for others to view. If you try to save and send a 360 photo from Cardboard itself, it will tell the recipient that the photo is not a VR image. This is really annoying – the beauty of this is that you can put other people in your shoes and let them see what you saw. So – how can you work around this?
The easiest way to do this is to head over to the wonderful website http://sphcst.com/ and simply upload your photo here. This will produce a shareable photosphere instantly and it will let you share it. Here’s an example I made with Google Cardboard today:
Round.me is another way to upload your photo, this focuses on the location of your photos and suggests that you tag the location to let others look at what you’re seeing. It’s really nice. It limits the vertical axis so that you cannot look up and down (and therefore you can’t see the black spaces that you do see on http://sphcst.com/ . The problem with Round.me is that you have to install the app to view in VR mode with a headset. See the example below:
The beauty of this is that it is quick, you simply go to the site and upload your photo – the site does the rest. It’s also free to use and to share your images. It creates a photosphere which is shareable and which you can use on your VR viewer, you can even embed it into a website…which I have used here.
The big winner for me here is that you can edit the photos and then view them on your VR viewer. With Google Cardboard if you make an edit then it ‘breaks’ the VR ability of the photo – you can no longer use it in Google Cardboard App. This is frustrating. With this method though, you can edit away all you like with no impact.
This highlights is just how great the Google Cardboard App is. Look at my photo above, you can really see the limitation of the phone’s camera in capturing the floor and the sky – we’ve got a strip of photo across the middle and a big blank space above and below.
Google Cardboard actually compensates for this in two ways. Firstly, it brings you ‘closer’ to the photo then you’d normally be, helping to remove the black lines but reducing the quality (which isn’t noticeable on the small phone screen which you’re using to view) and secondly, it very cleverly tries to blend the colour of the sky and the floor into the photo. So when you look up it looks like you just see sky – in some photos I don’t think you could tell that it isn’t the real sky unless you knew.
My photo below was taken without Google Cardboard Camera, just using my phone camera itself. This is a full 360 x 360 degree photosphere and you can instantly see the benefit, no more black lines, improved quality, true VR:
The other great thing which Google Cardboard does, but which we lose using this method is that it adds audio to the experience. This is a great feature and it’s a shame that you’re not able to share photos with the sound over the top.
I’m sure that Google will update the app to allow sharing and perhaps even editing at some point, but in the mean time, this is a way around the issue.
See our review of Google Cardboard Camera here.