Google gives iOS users another awesome Android feature: Photo Spheres


Google Photo Sphere Camera screenshots

While much could be said about Android users and their general distaste for all things Apple, Google sure doesn’t feel the same way. Today, Google has launched their “Photo Sphere Camera” app in the iTunes App Store and gives iPhone users the ability to capture full 360-degree panorama images (in all directions).

Before anyone gets up in arms over Google giving iOS users this at one exclusive Android feature move, keep in mind Google doesn’t see iOS users as the competition, but as another dollar sign, targeting them with their own apps and services (same with Android users). And in an effort to continue building out photo spheres on Maps, bringing iPhone users into the fold makes perfect sense. In fact, in order to share photo spheres with friends and family, they’ll first need to be uploaded publicly to a Google Maps’ “Views” profile. After that, they’ll await approval before showing up on Google Maps for the world to see.

Maps Views Profile screenshot

While your first instinct is to take a photo sphere of your current surroundings, Google encourages new Photo Sphere users to get out capture outdoor environments or public places — not just the inside of your house (or else everyone can easily find out where you live). This will help increase the value of Maps and others as they travel whether it’s in person, or from the comfort of their couch.

I guess the only question left is what next great Android feature will Google bring to iOS users next? We also can’t help but wonder if Google’s open embrace of iOS will negatively affect the amount of Android users who may be enticed by Apple’s hardware?

Google Photo Sphere Camera on iTunes

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Just went to T-Mobile and checked out the LG G3, then looked at the WP Lumia 925, I saw that google chrome is not available for WP. Then I played with the iPhone and saw google chrome for iOS..not gonna was smooth..very smooth..the I went to the appstore and saw all the google apps available..(this is my first time I ever done this) I was pretty content with the fluidity…. Every google app I use was there: Maps, play music, YouTube, drive, chrome.

    The chances of me buying an iPhone are extremely slim…however, 5 years with an android….I wouldn’t mind a change..Also..I need a phone with a smaller screens <5.2 inches..

    I will check out the iPhone 6….but 85% sure I won't buy it… But with Google releasing these features on iOS….the temp is there….

    Aaannnd..let the down voting begin.

    1. I see where you’re coming from. For me though, Android manufacturers will continue to throw the latest new tech into phones in an attempt to stand out of the crowd. And multitasking and UI customization is still way better on Android. When it comes down to an educated person having to choose between the two, it’s about which you value more: the most premium body build with a little more fluidity and nearly every app and accessory under the sun yet being stuck to a one size fits all and missing out on some bells and whistles or getting to choose a phone from a vast variety with whatever features you want with the best in multitasking and customization as well as the largest community in modding.

      1. Right..I agree 100%. That is why I’m on the fence..but still more on Android side…can’t wait to see the new nexus, moto x+1, note 4….Sony Z3 and compact…have to offer..

    2. I feel ya, iOS is VERY SMOOTH. Hopefully Android L will help make android on the same fluidity level of iphone.

    3. I’m right there with you. My wife had an iPhone 4 and last year switched to a Droid MAXX, but will be going back to iPhone next year. I’ve always had Android devices and currently have a Moto X, which I love. But the tempt is there, especially if the rumors of a 4.7″ screen are true. Add in the fact that I recently got a rMBP, and it’s very tempting.

      Whatever comes from Android L will be the deciding factor with me.

  2. Tbh, Google is making apple more enticing. Add their smooth ui with Googles latest app updates… I’m considering it. Especially with hangouts now this

    1. Thats what I was saying ⬇⬇⬇⬇ glad I’m not the only one. Lol Those who know me know I’m a diehard Android fan..but I have a nexus 7 tablet that I use….so there’s my Android there..haha

    2. Do that many people really use Hangouts and Google+? I honestly don’t know a single person who does.

  3. Well that’s another feature I can’t say we have exclusively anymore. Not cool.

  4. Say it ain’t so! Staying with an Android phone has so many more benefits.
    (Like keeping your man card)

  5. It won’t matter. iPhone users won’t know what to do if they can’t add a crappy Instagram filter to it.

    For me personally I am not going to give up Tasker, NFC, widgets, etc. etc. etc. and NO WAY will I ever let my phone company dictate what I can and can’t do with it to the degree that Apple does.

  6. I like the idea that iOS users will be able to check out my Photospheres. Google is smart not creating an island of apps that can only be used with the Android OS. How many iOS apps miss out on the Android user base? I’d love to have the iOS camera on my N5.

    1. I too would love their camera on my N5

      1. Me three

  7. Was on Android for 5 years, noticed that all of the Google apps are on the other side. Jumped.

  8. Sooooo stupid.Between apple coping android and google giving them android features there won’t be any reason for people to buy android devices

    1. Not necessarily. I mean think of it like ice cream. iPhones are made by 1 company, with 1 operating system every year they tweak something. We’ll call that vanilla. Every year it just becomes vanilla with something else or another version of vanilla. iPhone 1, vanilla, iPhone 2, vanilla bean, iPhone 3, vanilla chocolate chip…. and so on.

      Android phones are made by a bunch of companies with different versions of hardware, software, and styles some vary wildly from year to year. We’ll call Samsung Chocolate, HTC butter pecan, LG pistachio, and so on… Now start tweaking out those flavors. Samsung’s TouchWiz, HTC’s Sense, and their variants. Then add rooting to it. Suddenly you’ve gone from Vanilla to Rocky Road.

      A huge part of Android’s success has been at it’s core, choice. From phone to phone, manufacturer to manufacturer even down do the individual UI’s and the users customization of it. iPhones just don’t give people anywhere near the choice’s that Android’s do. To that end, people will have a ton of reasons to buy Androids. Frankly, I applaud Google for cross platforming some of their best features. I doubt any smartphone user can honestly say, no matter how much of a fan boy or girl they are, that they don’t have some part of the Google Experience on their devices. That’s Googles goal from jump. Spread Google and Android as far as possible.

  9. Now if only iMessage would come out on Android no one would use any other messaging app.

  10. Ironically most Android users can’t use that feature because the majority of phones are not upgraded to the latest versions of Android… But almost all iPhone users will have this feature..

    1. Wow. That speaks volumes of the “perceived” fragmentation of Android.

  11. Bigger news…INGRESS is available on iOS too…

  12. This will be useful ….. when I switch to iPhone 6 in the next few months.
    Can’t wait to get rid of my buggy Nexus 4.

    1. I can only assume you are at fault for any issues. You are probably better off with iOS since you don’t have the tech knowledge to be able to get the most out of android.

      1. My Nexus 4 is

        – Rooted
        – TWRP custom recovery
        – running Hells core kernel
        – Greenify unwanted background apps
        – Xposed framework (deeper greenify hooks)
        – Bionic patch applied
        – Dalvik patch applied

        and after trying all the above, I still couldn’t get rid of the home button/recent button lag. My camera often crashes the OS and reboots.

        Try these and see how many people are complaining about the same problems and it’s still not fixed:

        and yet my wife’s 3 year old iphone 4s runs faster than the Nexus 4 and most of the time takes better pictures too (especially indoors).

        Btw, I have worked with Linux Kernel so I’m pretty knowledgeable on tech.

        Don’t think everyone who uses iOS is a sheep.Don’t be a blind rabid clueless fanboy.

        1. if using a custom rom and you have long pressdouble tap on navkeys enabled for shortcuts this dramatically impacts response times…

          1. yeah I saw this suggestion in several threads. I don’t have a custom rom. I also disabled these shortcuts in launcher and Xposed. It didn’t help. In fact I installed xposed, custom kernel, patches to see if they will get rid of the lag.

          2. just don’t go in thinking iOS doesn’t lag because it certainly does from time to time as does Windows Phone(I have phones with all 3 OS’s so I’m not biased towards any OS). You must have some serious lag on your Nexus 4, I have a Nexus 4 as well and it is as smooth as silk, then again I am running a custom ROM, Beanstalk I believe and no other mods just the kernel that comes with the ROM which is Franco I believe. It could also be your screen causing the lag from that zero gap techno crap that LG was pushing a couple years back the response time on the screen is rather slow. Its probably a hardware issue that is causing the lag not necessarily the software.

        2. Try going back to a complete factory install. I always found aftermarket kernels gave me more problems than benefits

          1. I did all those tweaks just to see if it’ll get rid of the lag. I was always on stock ROM and kernel. just a few days ago I tried custom kernel, but lag is still there. I want to try complete factory install, but I don’t want to give up game save states in lot of apps. any good way to restore selected app data after factory install ?

        3. Xposed really makes a phone lag.

          1. I installed Xposed only to see if it’ll get rid of the lag.

        4. this, this sir, was priceless. I love android and hate the iPhone (only because of iOS, love the hardware) but this was still hilarious. I would love to see his face as he reads your detailed response

        5. * applauds *

  13. I am truly shocked. Apparently Chris, the fist line of your post is incorrect.

  14. “I guess the only question left is what next great Android feature will Google bring to iOS users next?”

    Not really. I still want to know when they’re going to bring the great iOS version of Hangouts features to Android? Seriously, how long are we going to wait for Google Voice integration?

    Also photosphere clones have been on iOS for a while, so it’s really nothing new. Nice to have the google version available though. The list of things I’d miss from android if I were to try an iPhone gets smaller and smaller.

  15. I would like a cross platform face time

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